Did you notice that it was Women’s History Month?
Have you celebrated yet with your daughters and sons? No? Well delay no longer! I’m here to help you with some easy and fun ways to celebrate the contributions of generations of women to our world today.
To start, I’ve created a list of 5 EASY ways you can celebrate with your kiddos here:
- Name 5 women scientists & their discoveries
- Play the works of 5 famous women composers
- Tell your wee ones about 5 things women invented
- Point out 5 women world leaders when you watch the news
- Draw pictures of 5 famous buildings or memorials created by women
Personally, I could do all of these with minimal effort- as long as I substituted the word “men” for “women.”
And that, I realized, is why marking women’s history month actually matters. I don’t want my girls to have to wait to take a women’s study course in college to learn that women are scientists, mathematicians, composers, inventors, leaders, designers, and more.
My girls are at the point where they’re really starting to notice gender inequalities. Their Presidents of the United States placemat is notably male oriented, as is their money, and their history books.
Women’s History Month (which was celebrated as a mere week up until the 90’s, btw) is an opportunity to intentionally point out the role women have played in the past and the value of their contributions today. I try to remind myself that my kids learn as much from what people don’t say or talk about as from what people do. So I want them to hear me say that women are valuable and important. If the predominant image of women that my girls encounter in their day to day lives, apart from me, is of underwear models and pop stars, I think we’re in trouble.
And so, having bombed on the easy front, I’ve created a list of 5 FUN ways I’m celebrating Women’s History Month (acknowledging here that my idea of fun with kids might be slightly warped..!).
- Rewrite the words of a pop song to promote a feminist message. Our family favorite is Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” which we revised to say “Girls just want pay equity.” We alternate this with wanting paid maternity leave, reproductive freedom, and climate change action. We still want fun, of course, we just don’t end it there.
- Discuss the presidential election campaign. Debate the merits of each of the candidates with your kids. No matter what your particular political persuasion is, it’s worth discussing the fact that two women have run in this election campaign.
- Read some “rad” books starring boss women.
I’ve always sought out books with adventurous girls front and center to read to my girls. A couple of months ago though, I realized that I was spending a little too much time in the fiction section. Since then, we’ve read books about Molly Pitcher, Nelly Bly, and Sojourner Truth. We’ve read about women artists and historical figures. With every book, my youngest swears she’s figured out her next year’s Halloween costume, and who am I to tell her no one will recognize her as McGinty, Nelly Bly’s pet monkey?
- Throw a birthday party for mathematician Emmy Noether, complete with cake on March 23rd! Seriously, why don’t we all know about Noether? She’s a BIG deal, just ask Albert Einstein. I’m pretty sure I would have been much more excited by my pre-Algebra class in middle school if I’d known about Noether’s contributions to algebraic thinking. Plus, cake is awesome for any occasion. Some additional birthday alternatives are composer Elisabeth-Calude Jacquet de La Guerre on March 17th, Amy Sedaris on March 29th, or Aretha Franklin on March 25th.
- Create your own version of a woman artist’s famous work. Confession: I totally bombed when I tried this out with my youngest. She absolutely insisted that we try a Jackson Pollock paint splatter painting instead. I tried to persuade her of the fun of Frida Kahlo, but it was a no go. Who am I to stand in the way of a girl making art, right?
- Pretend to be a famous woman scientist or explorer. Grab some binoculars and tell your kid to play chimpanzee to your Jane Goodall. Be Rosalind Franklin and ask your kiddo to donate an eyelash for you to examine under a microscope. Plan your trip to Mars like these NASA astronauts. Crack a glow stick and call yourself Madame Curie. Who says playing pretend should be limited to mere dress up. Try incorporating a scientist or two and see where your kids take you!