Women's History Multimedia Resources and Lesson Plan

This multimedia lesson plan features women heroes as a launch pad for discussing women's history and women's rights. Discussion guide and learning outcomes. 

Credit: All images public domain.

UNLADYLIKE2020 SERIES: Recommended for sixth grade and older students.

UNLADYLIKE2020: Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman wanted to become an aviator. Rejected from every U.S. aviation school for being a woman and black, she refused to take no for an answer.

UNLADYLIKE2020: Margaret Chung

Margaret Chung aka "Mike" aka "Mom Chung of the Fair Haired Bastards," was the only woman in her med school class. She advanced women's ability to serve in the armed forces.

UNLADYLIKE2020: Ynes Mexia

A late bloomer, botanist Ynes Mexia enrolled in college at the age of 51. She led expeditions, including in the Amazon rainforest, discovering 500 new species of plants.

UNLADYLIKE2020’s innovative digital content is an exciting way to engage middle and high school classrooms in U.S. history and women’s history. Lesson plans aligned with state and national standards for grades 6-12 are published on PBS LearningMedia, public television’s educational platform.

UNLADYLIKE2020 Lesson Plans
Credit: UNLADYLIKE2020

UNLADYLIKE2020 Directors Accept 2020 Eva Haller Women Transforming Media Award

Produced by:Charlotte Rangin, Sandra Rattley
Directors Charlotte Rangin, Sandra Rattley accept the Eva Haller Women Transforming Media Award for their series UNLADYLIKE2020 at the 16th annual MY HERO International Film Festival. Remarks by MY HERO director Jeanne Meyers, sponsor Eva Haller, MY HERO Film Festival director Wendy Milette.

UNLADYLIKE2020 SERIES | Director’s Statement | Women’s History “Continues to Resonate and Shape American Lives Today.”

UNLADYLIKE2020 series was selected as the winner of the 2020 Eva Haller Women Transforming Media Award, offered each year as part of the MY HERO International Film Festival to recognize outstanding documentary shorts featuring women.

The following program of short films celebrate women trailblazers and show the kinds of obstacles these women faced, as well as common threads between their stories.  Celebrate the empowerment of women across many cultures!

RBG [Trailer] (2:36)

Betsy West & Julie Cohen
At the age of 84, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon.

Inez Milholland ~ Forward into Light (13:28)

Martha Wheelock
This short documentary is a window into the Women's Suffrage Movement through the sacrifice of an American Amazon who will inspire today’s woman as much as she did 100 years ago.

My Life with Rosie [Trailer] (2:53)

Angela Williamson
This documentary is focused on Rosie Parks' 40 years of community service in the city of Detroit.

Women Transforming Media: Gabrielle Gorman

Produced by:Xenia Shin, Jeanne Meyers, et al.
Emerging filmmaker Gabrielle Gorman's poetic filmmaking confronts issues like identity, racism and self-love. We talk to the 2016 MY HERO International Film Festival Student Honoree, National Young Arts alumna in Cinematic Arts and Presidential Scholar finalist about how she wants to make art for social change.

My Family Journey: Pathway to Empowering Hispanic Women

Angelina Pendleton-Mendez
Angelina Pendleton-Mendez interviews Maria Mendez, her paternal grandmother about her family and their journey.

Looking After Our Spirit

Mark Pearce featuring Dr. Anne Poelina
Dr. Anne Poelina speaks out about the social, human, cultural and environmental values that has built the community spirit of Broome.

Yasmine Sherif Global Educator Award Winner

Kitty Richardson
Congratulations to Yasmine Sherif, the Director of Education Cannot Wait and the winner of the 2020 Global Educator Award.

Eva Haller: A Work in Progress

Produced by:Jeanne Meyers
A life dedicated to philanthropy, activism and mentorship, Eva Haller makes a positive impact around the world.

Women At the Wheel: Stories of remarkable women (13:30)

Produced by:Pat Benincasa

Stories of remarkable women shattering cultural roadblocks and gendered assumptions.

On March 8, 1911, the world celebrated the first-ever International Women's Day. It was part of the women's suffrage movement, which was in full swing in European and North American countries: Women wanted to vote, and they wanted to have the same rights as men. In 1986, national Women's History Month was declared in the US.

Women's Equality Day

Kitty Richardson

A brief look at the journey towards Equity for Women and the Women's Suffragette Movement directed and narrated by MY HERO intern Kitty Richardson.

Pioneers in Women's Rights from Around the World

Elizabeth Blackwell

By: Victoria Davis

Hero Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman in the United States to receive a degree as a doctor, and started a women's medical college for women.

Michelle Obama

By: Princess Quinones

Michelle Obama has recently made history as the first African American to become the First Lady of the United States.

Abigail Adams

By: Nashua Haque

First Lady Abigail Adams effectively led the country while President John Adams was an envoy in France, through detailed letters between the two and her own business savvy.

Elizebeth Friedman

By: Sean Tran

Elizebeth Friedman is known as "America's first female cryptanalyist" for her work deciphering codes between Nazi forces during WWII.

The following stories are available in text with audio so students can listen and read along. Great for ESL/ELL students.

Dorothy Height

By: Yajahira from Las Vegas

Height was a civil rights/women's rights activist and an ally to the LGBTQ+ community.

Katherine Johnson

By: Kyra from Ankara, Turkey

Her story was hidden for decades: Katherine Johnson plotted multiple flight courses for NASA, including the Apollo 11 spacecraft, the first spaceship to reach the moon.


Discussion Questions

1. What kinds of obstacles have each of these women faced and how did they overcome them?

2. What consistent threads do you see in each of their stories? What characteristics did these women share?

3. How has the fight for women's rights changed over the years? What still needs to be done?

4. Who do you know working for women's rights in your family or community? Share her or his story with MY HERO.

5. What kind of changes are you motivated to fight for?


Learning Outcomes

After watching these films and and reading the stories, students will have a deeper understanding of prominent figures in the fight for women's rights around the world and how their lives today have been impacted by these individuals. With hope, participants will also feel empowered to fight for justice in their own lives.


Stories Written by Younger Writers to use as Examples with the Following Writing Activity

Sally Ride

By: Georgia Rowan

"Sally Ride is considered a hero because she has done amazing things, like when she went on the STS-7 mission in 1983."

Susan B. Anthony

By: Libby Huxley

An elementary student talks about her hero, women's suffragist Susan B. Anthony.


Hero Writing Activity

1. Share the stories about Roberta Lynn Bondar and Susan B. Anthony with students, giving them time to read each of them.

2. Discuss how both students used a subject - adjective web to organize the heroic characteristics they included in their story.

3. Students choose their hero and create a subject web using 6-8 adjectives that describe why this person is their hero.

4. Using the subject web, students write a story their hero. 

5. Students are encouraged to submit their story to MY HERO using the Create Program. 



Students analyze the art below. Notice the colors and brushstrokes that Marilyn Huerta uses to depict Bessie Coleman, as well as the text Robert Shetterly uses in the background of his portraits. In the photograph of Inez Milholland Boissevain, what message is the photographer trying to tell.

Students are encouraged to research in order to learn more about these women heroes. 


Bessie Coleman

By: Marilyn Huerta

Marilyn Huerta's portrait of Bessie Coleman, who grew up during the time of segregation and was the first black woman to fly around the world. 

Alice Paul

By: Robert Shetterly

Robert Shetterly depicts Alice Paul, crusader for equal rights for women.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton by Robert Shetterly, AWTT

By: Robert Shetterly

Portrait of women's rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton by Robert Shetterly.

Inez Milholland Boissevain

By: unknown

Dressed like Joan of Arc on a white horse, Inez Milholland Boissevain, a New York attorney, led a group of women all dressed in white. Here she is on horseback at the Women's Equality March in Washington D.C., 1913

Background Information about the International Women's Day and Women's History Month 

On March 8, 1911, the world celebrated the first-ever International Women's Day

The day was created in order to bring attention to the important impact women have had in history, and continue to have today and in the future. It was part of the women's suffrage movement, which was in full swing in European and North American countries: Women wanted to vote, and they wanted to have the same rights as men.

Throughout the 20th century, women all over the world have fought to gain equality and respect--and many, especially those in developing areas, are still fighting to have access to education and the right to speak their minds.

Most recently, in 1986, national Women's History Month was declared in the US and is celebrated every year in March.


Laura Nietzer

The Women's History lesson plan was created by MY HERO Education Outreach Director Laura Nietzer.

Students can share their Hero Essays, Films and Art through our Create Program

Outstanding essays submitted to MY HERO will be considered for a certificate/t-shirt prize or be featured on the Story Homepage.

Submit your artwork to be entered in the MY HERO art contest or to be exhibited on our Gallery Homepage.

Students can submit their films for free with a waiver to the MY HERO International Film Festival.


Related MY HERO Multimedia Resource Links

Women Change-makers
Credit: Public Domain

Learn about a New Hero Every Day of the Year: Use the MY HERO Calendar in the Classroom

Organizer created on 3/5/2019 3:30:34 PM by Xenia Shin

Last edited 3/3/2021 12:35:37 PM by Laura Nietzer