Current Event March 9, 2017
During the space race between the United States and Russia, many of the NASA mathematicians who made space flight possible were women. Moreover, many of these important scientists were black women, which is significant, because segregation was still in full effect. Although white male engineers and astronauts have been the most highlighted in history, people are now celebrating the essential contributions of these female, African-American scientists, including the movie “Hidden Figures.” Listen to learn more about the black female scientists like Katherine Johnson and their important contributions to space travel.
Current Event February 21, 2017
Packing a child's lunch in Japan can take more than an hour, since moms create bento lunches that take lunch ingredients and transform them into cute characters. Ham and rice can be made into Pokemon, cute animals, or famous people. It's called character bento, or kyaraben, and there's a lot of pressure to produce these food creations. In Japan, women are highly educated, but about 70 percent quit working after having children. Thus a lot of talent and creative energy is sometimes going into creating competitively cute lunches. Listen to hear more about the lunch making culture in Japan.
Current Event January 26, 2017
Millions of people across the country and around the world marched the day after President Donald Trump took the oath of office. Women, men and children marched in hundreds of cities including Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Austin, New York, Chicago, Paris, Delhi and Bangkok. The purpose, marchers say, is to take a stand for women's rights and against Donald Trump's agenda. Climate, science, women's rights, human rights, LGBT rights and minority rights are just a few of the issues that were highlighted by those who attended the women's marches. Listen to hear more about these demonstrations across the country.
Current Event November 18, 2016
The United Nations is set to appoint Wonder Woman as its honorary ambassador for a new social media campaign focused on the empowerment of women and girls. Many people agree that Wonder Woman is an appropriate choice, and think that she sends a strong message that girls can do anything. However, some feminist groups oppose the decision. Listen to hear what each side thinks about Wonder Woman becoming an ambassador for women’s issues and then debate: Is Wonder Woman a good Ambassador for Women’s Empowerment?
ELA High School
Betty Friedan’s 1963 book, “The Feminine Mystique,” remains one of the landmark works of Feminist literature. At a time in American history when most women were expected to find fulfillment as housewives and mothers, Friedan’s book challenged the male-dominated post-WWII culture, and helped pave the way for the “Women’s Liberation Movement" of the 1960s and 1970s. This audio story looks at “The Feminine Mystique” on the 50th anniversary of its publication, with three women discussing their relationship with the groundbreaking book. Listen to learn more about the origins of “The Feminine Mystique,” and what relevance it may still hold for the gender politics of today.
Current Event October 12, 2016
The debates between the U.S. presidential candidates will mark the first time gender is a dynamic. The way women are perceived in a debate setting is different from the way men are perceived. The pitch of a woman’s voice and the way a woman dresses should not affect the debate, but are often highlighted or criticized. Listen to hear more about how some people see women versus men in a debate setting.
Current Event September 30, 2016
Across college campuses, the idea of "trigger warnings," giving a heads-up to students before uncomfortable topics are discussed, and creating safe spaces for students to feel comfortable talking about their experiences, is gaining traction. Some people think this provides support for people who have been victimized and prevents triggering a recurrence of past trauma. Others people think this makes it possible for students to avoid certain topics and different perspectives that make them feel uncomfortable. The University of Chicago has decided not to give ‘trigger warnings’. Listen to this story to understand why and then debate the different perspectives on this policy.
ELA Middle School
The United States declared war on Afghanistan in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. But Afghanistan had already been a troubled and war torn country for many, many years. In 1996, the Taliban seized control of the country, imposing strict rule over all of its citizens. This story focuses on how the strict rules of society in Afghanistan continue to affect its people--especially children and girls. Listen to this interview with the author of “The Kids of Kabul” and learn more about the challenges faced by Afghan children and women, especially in the area of education.
ELA High School
The play "Hedda Gabler" by Henrik Ibsen was written in 1891. It features a female protagonist who feels trapped and bored by her loveless marriage and the rules of Victorian society, and relieves her frustration through manipulating others. A play called "Heddatron," is a comedic reinterpretation of "Hedda Gabler." The producers of "Heddatron" updated the play for a 21st century audience by incorporating robots into the cast. As new forms of technology are showing up in unexpected places, the integration of robots in this play challenges our thinking about the role of technology in our culture and our society. Listen to this story to learn why the producers decided to bring robots into a century-old play, and what challenges they faced in bringing their reinterpretation to the stage.
Current Event June 23, 2016
This story follows a Saudi Arabian teenage girl over two years. It’s a personally narrated audio diary of a young woman who is in college and dreams of being a scientist and getting her PhD. While she is keeping this audio diary, she interviews her family and friends and explores her dreams and beliefs. Listen to hear scenes from her life.
Current Event June 13, 2016
For the first time in U.S. history, a woman will be a nominee for President. Hillary Clinton has become the first woman to be the presumptive nominee of an American political party. No other woman has made it this far in climbing the political ladder to the presidency. In marking the moment, Clinton delivered a speech from a hall with a glass ceiling and reflected on how the metaphorical glass ceiling has held women back in politics.
Current Event May 24, 2016
The White House, along with the departments of Justice and Education, say schools must let transgender students use the bathroom they identify with. Conservative leaders in Texas responded by denouncing it. They see this directive as divisive, unsafe, and immoral. Others call this a big step for civil rights and applaud the anti-discrimination policy. In Texas, the Fort Worth school superintendent announced their public schools would accommodate transgender students. That led to Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, calling for the superintendent’s removal. Listen to hear more about how politics and public school bathrooms are related.
Current Event April 25, 2016
The $5, $10, and $20 bill are all due for an update, and there has been a big push to honor a woman on the face of U.S. currency. Escaped slave Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the face of the $20 bill. Jackson will be moved to the back of the bill. The change came after the US Treasury Secretary invited the public to submit their own ideas of which female from US history should be featured. Tubman not only escaped slavery but created the Underground Railroad through connections and networks, bringing people together to reach a goal. Listen to learn more about the changes in store for U.S. currency.
Current Event April 15, 2016
There are a number of young teens getting married in the United States. They include teens of every race and ethnicity and teens who are not being forced into arranged marriages. Most states set the minimum age for marriage at 18, but there are ways to get around this law, such as providing a note from the teens’ parents. Some states are taking steps to close all loopholes in this law. Advocates of new laws say child marriage endangers girls' health, and undermines their education and economic opportunities. Some say teens should be allowed to decide for themselves. Listen to this story and debate whether there is an age at which someone is too young to get married.
Current Event April 13, 2016
Grace Hopper played an important role in creating the tech world. She left her job as a college professor and joined the Navy Reserve during World War II. Later, she was on the team at Harvard that wrote the first programmable computer code language. She succeeded in a number of male-dominated fields and became an icon in the computer world. Listen to hear more about the woman who helped start the computer revolution.
Current Event March 23, 2016
As part of Native American Heritage night, a women’s high school basketball team wore traditional Navajo hair styles. They wore a tsiyeela—a bun tied with yarn. Then a referee told them they couldn't play because he believed the hairstyle broke regulation. The students ended up taking out their buns. After the team received an apology, they wore their traditional hairstyles at the next game. And so did many in the audience. Listen to hear more about this event that highlights the issue of cultural sensitivity.
Current Event March 23, 2016
Amelia Earhart attempted to become the first female airplane pilot to circumnavigate the globe. Her plane disappeared during her flight 80 years ago. Although human remains believed to be Earhart’s have been found on an island off of Hawaii, the wreckage of her airplane has never been discovered. Now, the Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery is using new technology to map the ocean floor off the island and search the area for parts of the plane. Listen to learn more about the search expedition and Amelia Earhart’s legacy.