Current Event March 23, 2016
Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman to sit on the United States Supreme Court in 1981. Her selection came as a surprise to some, as she was not well known in the world of judicial writing. Despite struggles early on as she learned her role in federal court, O’Connor had a long and successful career until her retirement in 2006. Listen to learn more about O’Connor’s path to the Supreme Court and her experiences as a woman in law and politics.
Current Event March 17, 2016
Many of the characters in books written for students are white males. They don’t reflect everyone’s background. One girl became frustrated when she couldn’t connect to the characters. In response, she began to gather books about black girls and then give these books to schools. Now that she has exceeded her original goal and collected almost 4,000 books, the girl has started to consider how to impact schools in an even larger way. Listen to the story hear more about this remarkable campaign.
Current Event March 14, 2016
Countries such as Germany, the Philippines, Argentina and Great Britain have elected women leaders, but the United States has never elected a woman president. Sexism and legal discrimination have stopped women from gaining leadership positions for the past 200 years, but things have changed recently. Women have been supporting each other to gain elected positions, and have proven that women are capable leaders. Listen to hear more about the history of women leaders in the United States.
Current Event February 23, 2016
As we head into Women’s History month in March, one woman stands out as an early pioneer for women’s rights, Susan B. Anthony. Her birthday is remembered this month, but she is known for a November day in 1872, when she and other women registered to vote. When Anthony attempted to vote, she was arrested and convicted of the crime of illegal voting. She was also an anti-slavery activist and joined forces with abolitionist Frederick Douglass in Rochester, New York. Although it wasn’t legal for women to vote until 1920, Susan B. Anthony led the campaign to for women’s suffrage. Listen to hear more about her legacy as an advocate for women’s rights in the United States.
Current Event January 14, 2016
Child care is at the center of economic policy in Japan. As Japan’s population ages and shrinks, the country is looking to give the economy a boost by attracting more women to the workforce. The problem is young mothers have a difficult time finding daycare due to limited child care options. And Japanese culture sees caretaking and household duties as women’s domain, so parents typically do not share the work at home equally.The government is taking steps to help more women join the workforce.
Current Event January 4, 2016
In an historic election for women in Saudi Arabia, women won 20 seats out of about 2,000 seats available on local councils. It was historic because even though women in Saudi Arabia are banned from driving, they were allowed to vote and be candidates for the first time. Women had to be creative in their campaigning to work around rules about women traveling unaccompanied and forced segregation of men and women. Since Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, the royal rulers make all the important political decisions and smaller decisions are left to local councils. Even considering the restrictions on women, this is a step toward women having a voice in Saudi Arabia.
Current Event December 11, 2015
All ground combat jobs in the U.S. military will be open to women starting next year. The U.S. Defense Secretary said that it made no sense to exclude half the American population from serving in combat. He believes the individual contributions of women will enhance combat effectiveness. There is opposition to this decision from Marines who wanted infantry jobs closed to women. Listen to this story about the pros and cons of this decision. Then debate with your students: Should women hold combat roles?
Current Event November 25, 2015
Playing basketball can be difficult in a hijab, the traditional clothing for Somali girls that is robe-like and covers their hair. Shoes can get caught in the dresses, scarves fall over the eyes, and there are so many layers it can get too hot. In the Twin Cities of Minneapolis, Minnesota, a high school girls’ team redesigned their uniforms. The goal of the new uniforms was to balance a culture of modesty with playing sports. The Somali girls had input into creating the design to produce something that isn’t restrictive but is also cute. Listen to hear how these uniforms were created and the response by other teams across the country.
Current Event November 4, 2015
In northern India, arranged marriages are normal. Some girls are married very young, as young as 10 years old. But they aren’t sent to live with their husbands until they turn 15. One charity started a school for child brides. They offer a deal to rural families: delay married life and get a free education. At the school, girls stay in dorms and attend many classes throughout the day. If they don’t pass a tough test at the end of their schooling, they are sent home to their husbands to be housewives. Listen to this story to hear more about the lives of these young girls in India and how different their lives are from young girls in the United States.
Current Event September 1, 2015
The Supreme Court ruled this summer to support same-sex marriage. This does not apply to Native American tribes, however, since they are not parties to the U.S. Constitution. A decade ago, Navajo lawmakers drafted the Dine Marriage Act that prohibits same-sex marriage, and only a dozen of the 566 U.S. tribes recognize same-sex marriage. If Native Americans leave the reservation, they are free to marry whom they choose, but in their own home community, the relationship is not valid. Listen to hear more about how these contradictory laws are affecting Native Americans.
ELA High School
American poet Emily Dickinson was known as an eccentric recluse throughout her life. Dickinson maintained many of her friendships through letter writing, while she wrote poetry privately. Her unusual poetry style wasn’t truly discovered until after her death in 1886, when her sister Lavinia found nearly 1,800 of her sister’s poems. Though Lavinia had promised to destroy her sister’s papers, she instead had the poems published, which led to Emily’s fame as a great American poet. Listen to learn how her poetry continues to be an inspiration today.
ELA High School
Author Jane Austen is well known for her novels that reflect on romance and the familial and cultural standards of late 18th century England. Some paint Austen as a drab spinster, but a new biography by Paula Byrne explores the real Austen through objects that were important to her in her life and literature. This portrait of an opinionated, fun loving Austen will help you understand her life, family and themes she revisits in her works.
Current Event May 29, 2015
Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre” is a classic coming of age tale of orphan Jane Eyre’s growth and morality. The original novel was published in England in 1847 and reflected the culture and standards of the time. A new novel by author Patricia Park, “Re Jane,” reimagines the tale, placing it in modern Korean American culture. Listen to hear from the author about how she was influenced by Jane Eyre and how the story resonates with her own culture and experience.
ELA Middle School
When Louisa May Alcott wrote “Little Women” at the request of her publisher it became an instant hit. The story of four sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March, still inspires young women nearly 150 years later. What do these four women represent? How can we understand Jo’s independence in the context of her era? And how does the novel reflect and differ from the life of its author Louisa May Alcott? Listen to learn more about the lasting legacy of “Little Women.”
Current Event May 7, 2015
William Shakespeare is one of the most well-known playwrights in history. His stories of love, tragedy, comedy and history written in the late 1500s have transcended the centuries thanks to their timeless themes and complex characters. Author Tina Packer has tracked the development of Shakespeare’s female characters through his writing career and suggests that from “Romeo and Juliet” on, Shakespeare wrote unusually complex women for his time and should be considered a proto-feminist. Listen to learn more about the development of these female characters over his career.
Current Event May 5, 2015
On average, women are paid less to do the same jobs as men. This pay inequity often starts with salary negotiations. Men are much more likely to negotiate a higher salary and women are more likely to accept what is first offered to them. This initial gap then continues throughout careers even when people switch jobs. Companies are trying to address this gender gap in pay by publishing salaries online or establishing set pay for different positions. Listen to learn more about this problem and some new solutions.
Current Event April 2, 2015
In the modern tech industry, computer programmers are predominantly male. The industry has even been accused of sexism and hostility towards female programmers. But you might be surprised to learn that it was women who made the breakthroughs that paved the way for modern programming. These women, though, didn’t get the credit. Listen to learn more about the origins of computers and the women who drove the industry in its early years.
Current Event March 27, 2015
When you look at traditional American currency, from bills to coins, you will see the portraits of presidents, founders, and inventors. And almost all of them are men. A group of women in New York is trying to change this in time for the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in 2020. The campaign Women On 20s is proposing that Andrew Jackson be removed from the twenty dollar bill and replaced with a famous woman chosen by popular vote. Listen to learn more about the candidates they are proposing and why they think Jackson is the ideal president to replace.
Current Event March 24, 2015
In 1995, the United Nations held the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China to focus on issues of gender equity. Twenty years later, the UN has released a report about the status of women in the world today. From areas of progress to inequities that remain, listen to learn more about the findings in the report.
Current Event March 15, 2015
The rights of women around the world vary widely. Women in Saudi Arabia have fought for their right to drive, be part of government, compete in the Olympics and, most recently, attend gym class. The school system in Saudi Arabia is divided by gender. Boys schools have long had gym class; a new policy would allow girls schools the same. The reaction within the country has been mixed. Some argue it breaks religious law, others say it is a natural and healthy way for young girls to grow. Listen to hear from women in Saudi Arabia.