Women’s Studies


  • Women Peacemakers: The Interrupters

    In an effort to stop the cycle of retaliatory violence that plagues the streets of Chicago, former gang members and ex-convicts known as "violence interrupters" work with an organization called CeaseFire, using their street credibility to stop shootings before they happen. In this lesson, students will contemplate the realities of violence, its devastating impact on communities, and the capacity of "violence interrupters" to break the cycle of violence.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Media Tactics - Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock

    During the 1950s, the new medium of television brought the struggle for civil rights into the homes of Americans, broadcasting dramatic images of clashes between nonviolent protesters and violent segregationists. Acutely aware of the power media coverage had to shed light on the nature of racism in the South, many civil rights leaders attracted media attention by staging newsworthy marches, demonstrations, rallies, and boycotts. The film Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock is a presentation of Independent Lens.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Bhutto: the First Muslim Woman to Lead an Islamic Nation | Educator Guide

    Educators can use the Bhutto Lesson Plans to support viewing of the documentary film Bhutto, by Duane Baughman while engaging students in discussions about Benazir Bhutto's legacy as a woman and a leader, women's rights, and the struggle for democracy in Pakistan. These lessons and discussions also provide a context for understanding and further investigating the changing nature of women's leadership in Muslim countries around the world. The activities can foster discussion and inspire action around these topics within classrooms, youth-serving organizations, families, and the broader community.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Bhutto | Film Discussion Guide

    This discussion guide is designed as a tool to facilitate dialogue and deepen understanding of the complex issues in the film Bhutto, an intimate look at one of the most fascinating and important world leaders of our time, Benazir Bhutto. The guide provides important context and raises thought provoking questions to encourage viewers to think more deeply. We provide suggestions for areas to take action and to explore in panel discussions, in the classroom, in communities, and online. We also provide valuable resources, and connections to organizations on the ground that are fighting to make a difference.

    Grades: 9-12
  • A History of Pakistan | Bhutto Film Module

    This module shows a brief montage of the pivotal moments in Pakistan's birth as a nation, and the critical economic, political and social issues that the country faces.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Benazir Bhutto and the Struggle for Democracy in Pakistan | Bhutto Film Module

    Banazir Bhutto became the first female Prime Minister of Pakistan. She took office after a prolonged struggle against a dictator. Bhutto was elected due to her encouragement of democracy and the importance of the people.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Benazir Bhutto: First Woman Leader of a Muslim Nation | Bhutto Film Module

    This module traces the rise of Benazir Bhutto to power as a young woman. Students will learn about the status of women in Pakistan, the influences of Islam and the military on Pakistani politics, the leadership of her father, and her personal family life. The module raises the question: was Benazir Bhutto a feminist, or was she a pragmatist when it came to reconciling her position on women's rights with conservative Islamic elements in power in Pakistan?

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Benazir Bhutto and the Struggle for Democracy in Pakistan | Lesson Plan 2

    Students will investigate Pakistan's struggle to maintain a lasting democratic government. In particular, they will study the life of Benazir Bhutto, the first woman in Pakistan to be elected Prime Minister. Students will look at various experiences in her life that shaped her as a leader, and will identify ways that she was a champion of democracy in Pakistan.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Benazir Bhutto: First Woman Leader of a Muslim Nation | Lesson Plan 1

    Students will study various elements of the context in which Benazir Bhutto became the first woman leader of a Muslim nation, including the status of women in Pakistan, the influences of Islam and the military on Pakistani politics, the leadership of her father, and her personal family life. In addition, the class will discuss the complexities of being a female leader in a Muslim country. Finally, students will write persuasive essays that connect Bhutto to women’s leadership topics that they think are important.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Human Dignity and Human Rights | Waste Land | Lesson 2

    In this lesson, students will discuss what dignity means in their lives and examine the relationship between human dignity and human rights. They will consider the consequences for individuals and communities whose fundamental human rights are limited or denied, and develop a plan of action for improving the lives of women in their own community.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Art and Transformation | Waste Land | Lesson 1

    In this lesson, students will develop a working definition for the term "art" and discuss how objects, sounds, movements, and ideas are transformed into works of art. They will consider the impact of the Pictures of Garbage project on the lives of the women from the Jardim Gramacho landfill and the benefits and consequences of implementing art intervention projects. Finally, they will discuss how art projects can be used to effectively address social justice issues and develop their own art-based campaign to raise awareness about or improve an issue in their school or community.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Human Dignity | Waste Land Film Module

    Students will watch an excerpt from the film and consider the consequences for individuals and communities whose fundamental human rights are limited or denied, and develop a plan for improving the lives of women in their own community.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Art and Transformation | Waste Land Film Module

    In this Waste Land film module, students will meet some of the residents and works of the world’s largest landfill, located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This module speaks to the theme of transformation, the power of art to transform society, and the connection between human dignity and human rights in Brazil.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Pictures of Garbage | Waste Land Film Module

    In this Waste Land film module, students will be introduced to Brazilian visual artist Vik Muniz and the motivation behind his art project “Pictures of Garbage. The project speaks to the theme of transformation, the power of art to transform society, and the connection between human dignity and human rights in Brazil.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Waste Land | Educator Guide

    Educators can use the guide to support viewing of the documentary, while engaging students in discussions about the power of art to transform society, and the connection between human dignity and human rights in Brazil. These lessons and discussions also provide a context for understanding and further investigating the factors that contribute to the staggering number of women and children living in poverty in Brazil, and other parts of the world. The activities can foster discussion and inspire action around these topics within classrooms, youth-serving organizations, families and the broader community.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Role Models and Mentors | Women & Girls in the Criminal Justice System | Lesson 7

    In this lesson, students consider what a good mentor looks like and what possibilities exist for themselves and other at-risk girls to be role models. At the end of the lesson, they will be asked to find a mentor and complete a culminating lesson that integrates learning points from the entire curriculum. The value of mentoring is emerging as a major, if not crucial, advantage in overcoming adversity and reaching one’s full potential. Mentoring organizations are expanding their reach throughout the country with the support of major foundations and the federal government.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Intervention: What Works | Women & Girls in the Criminal Justice System | Lesson 6

    This lesson is designed to help students further their knowledge of existing resources in their communities and strengthen the skills needed to connect with them. Teens in need struggle to access available resources, or those resources are not adequate to meet their needs. In some cases, they may not be aware of or have enough confidence to take the initiative to reach out for help. The benefits of the Troop 1500 program as an example of successful intervention will be more deeply examined. Students will also examine another cutting-edge intervention model targeting teens at high risk for contact with the criminal justice system.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • The Power of Expression | Women & Girls in the Criminal Justice System | Lesson 5

    In this lesson, students will be asked why they should tell their stories and how they can do so when there may be so much fear and risk involved. Meade Palidofsky, director of the Fabulous Females workshop featured in Girls on the Wall, expresses a common sentiment when she says, “One thing that’s dangerous with kids that are being locked up is that they’ll suck it all up and wait until they get out and they will have solved nothing. I think that the girls really still need to seize their stories.”

    Grades: 9-13+
  • What Is the Impact of My Decisions? | Women & Girls in the Criminal Justice System | Lesson 4

    In this lesson, students will be asked to consider how some of their decisions have negatively impacted others. Successful violence prevention and restorative justice programs aim to help people acknowledge the harm they have done to others. This helps build empathy, an essential quality needed to reach one’s full potential.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • What to Do: The State of the Criminal Justice System | Women & Girls in the Criminal Justice System | Lesson 3

    Students will look at restorative justice as a competing model, learn more about the state of the criminal justice system, and express their opinions about the topic to an elected leader. The prison population has exploded in the United States over the last several decades. The female prison population has increased 800 percent in the same period. Approximately one in 43 young people (and one in 15 African American youth) has an incarcerated parent. These numbers, combined with high recidivism rates and shrinking state budgets, are leading people to consid

    Grades: 9-13+

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