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It's Time to Ensure Young People Learn About Women Leaders

Posted on March 18, 2019
As we celebrate Women's History Month and many of the unsung women leaders in American history, it makes me wonder what it would have been like to grow up with 50-50 representation among women and men in my history textbooks. What if, from an early age, I learned about women's accomplishments and contributions that shaped our country as much as I did about men's?

As Smithsonian Magazine recently reported, what schools teach about women's history leaves much to be desired.

Male historical figures outnumber women three to one in K-12 educational standards for social studies in the U.S. And among the women who do make it into our children's textbooks, there is not nearly enough diversity.

Another problematic pattern, cited by Smithsonian, involves the subject matter in which women are discussed in textbooks. The majority of women's history stories fall within the context of domestic roles, while women's rights and suffrage make up only 20 percent of the mentions.

It's time we stop reinforcing gender stereotypes and excluding women from important chapters in American history -- ones that showcase their leadership skills and collective impact. Next year, Vision 2020's Women 100 will present this perspective through an interactive educational exhibition, "A Seat at the Table," housed at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts for seven months, as well as the Vision 2020 HERstory Hunt. I invite educators to join us!