Lesson Topic: Trials and Triumphs of Modern Feminism
Grade: High School
Class: American History
Approx. Class Time: 1 class period
Lesson Objective: The students will read primary documents to launch a discussion about the role of American women throughout the 1970s-1980s.
Materials Needed: Press release for Women's Action Alliance and "Evolution of Mission Statement."
In 1972, what were the stated goals of the Women's Action Alliance?
What did it see as the major concerns it sought to address?
How does the definition of feminism change over the twenty-five years of this organization? Is this influenced by changes (or lack of changes) in American society?
How did the Women's Action Alliance's goals change over time?
What events in the nation/world may have had an impact on the "evaluation of mission statement?"
Possible Activity: Assign small groups to different "historic moments" in the women's movement. Have them research the event itself, like the push for the ERA during the 1970s, and then compare it to the changes in the WAA. What national events in particular might have shaped the course and funding of this organization? Have students show the result of national events on women of various races and classes in American society. They should then present their event to the class, which in turn should create a timeline of the modern women's movement in the United States.
Selected Suggested Readings:
Winifred D. Wandersee, On the Move: American Women in the 1970s (Boston:
Twayne Publishers, 1988).
Nancy Whittier, Feminist Generations: The Persistance of the Radical Women's
Movement (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1995).