Women's History in Textbooks
Although feminist scholarship has made strides in the university, this progress is only beginning to have a significant impact on public school textbooks. Tetreault (1989) and Moraga and Anzaldúa (1981) have written about the invisibility and fragmentation of women’s history, particularly that of women of color, in literature and text illustrations.
Some progress is being made. Publishers have started to delete linguistic bias and to use gender-neutral terms. States are requiring that texts move beyond depicting women in stereotypical roles. The National Women’s History Project has developed excellent new materials to overcome this invisibility.
Students seem to develop self-esteem and a sense of being socially centered when they see their role models in books and other educational materials. Women’s literature, history, and sociology assist female students in evaluating their own experiences and traumas. Readings in these areas can help young women gain perspective on the pressures to surrender self and goals for temporary status and temporary relationships. Social history and popular histories record the extensive participation of women in building our communities, public schools, and social institutions. Readings from the era in which the “cult of true womanhood” was promoted (1800–1860) help students to reflect on how public images and role models can promote profit seeking rather than developing human potential. Readings from the Progressive Era (1890–1920) help students to see how immigrant women organized unions and (European American) women made significant advances in attending colleges and entering the professions.
The curriculum should be authentic, realistic, and inspirational. Reform requires more than adding a few new heroines to existing textbooks. The writings and speeches of Dolores Huerta, Fannie Lou Hamer, Shirley Chisholm, Rosa Parks, Marian Wright Edelman, Hillary Clinton, and others are important additions to the curriculum.
© ______ 2010, Allyn & Bacon, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Child Development Theories
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- First Grade Sight Words List
- Social Cognitive Theory
- The Homework Debate
- GED Math Practice Test 1