Happily, there are dozens of web sites that honor the many roles that women have played in the course of human history -- as warrior queens and scientists, artists and business leaders, as teachers and politicians, writers and diplomats. One of the most comprehensive places that you can use to begin your own and your children's journey this month is the "Women Who Shaped History" website at Embracing the Child "dot" com. The mission of this site is to provide "literature for Learning and Shared Reading," and, in keeping with this purpose, it begins with an annotated list of books for children, teenagers, and young adults that would be especially appropriate reading for this month -- from picture books to historical novels and works of non-fiction, like Herstory: Women Who Changed the World by Ruth Ashby and Deborah Gore Ohrn. This book offers over a hundred short biographies of both famous and undeservedly obscure women who made significant contributions to world history. The site also contains its own series of biographical sketches, which includes, for example, an account of Judith Leyster, the seventeenth century Dutch painter who held her own among the famous "brotherhood" of Old Masters.
If you are looking for sites that are directed at children, you might want to stop by timeforkids.com, with its basic introduction to Women's History Month and its timeline of women's achievements in America from the 1800's to the present. Or take a look at the Learning Network's website, Familyeducation.com, that also provides a chronology of landmarks in women's history, as well as a number of quizzes that you can take to test your Women's History I.Q. with questions like: "The brilliant negotiations of our United Nations delegate won adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 against tremendous odds. Who was this diplomat and 'First Lady of the World'?"
And be sure to stop and linger at the Women's History Month site sponsored by the National Women's History Project, which was the animating force behind the creation of Women's History Month. As you would imagine, the site is brimming over with information and ideas to bring alive -- in your home, your classroom, and your own consciousness -- the theme of this year's celebration: Women -- Builders of Communities and Dreams.
Copyright 2006© John Cech
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