Where have the women gone?
Image via Piotr Marcinski/Shutterstock.

We have all heard before that history means we are learning more about HIStory than HERstory. Recently published education standards in New York go above and beyond with telling the story of men over women. Jezebel published an article on this topic and it made me curious to learn more.

As a history teacher in Michigan, I wanted to see how standards in my home state treat women in history. Upon examining the World and U.S. History standards for Michigan, I found that individual names of men and women were not used in world history standards, but they are a part of the U.S. History standards. In Michigan’s High School Content Expectations there are about 15 men named in the U.S. History standards, and only five women. A quarter of the historical individuals named were women, and that seems great compared to the New York standards. The World History standards used in New York name just one woman (Mary Wollstonecraft), compared to about 35 men.

Last year, I taught World History classes in both Michigan and in the Dominican Republic and I incorporated many important ladies into lessons. My students learned about Queen Elizabeth, Olga of Kiev, Catherine the Great, and many others. My hope is that my fellow history teachers are also telling their students the stories of women regardless of whether their names are mentioned in their education standards. Do you remember learning about women in your high school history classes?

-Hillary Hanel
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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