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
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.
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.
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.
ELA High School
Jane Austen wrote a new type of female character. Emma Woodhouse of "Emma" and Elizabeth Bennet in "Pride and Prejudice" are two memorable characters. They were charming but normal, flawed but winning. The legend of Austen is that she wrote her novels exactly as they were published, but the release of her original manuscripts suggests she had an active editor. Does it matter that an editor helped clean up Austen’s prose or is it her genius that shines through?
ELA Middle School
"A Wrinkle in Time," a famous novel by Madeleine L’Engle, is the story of teenager Meg Murry. Meg is transported on an adventure through time and space with her younger brother and friend as they try to rescue her father. When it was originally published in 1963, no publisher knew how to promote it. What is it about “A Wrinkle in Time,” and why is it so controversial 50 years after its publication?
ELA Middle School
One of the most enduring novels written for young adults is "Anne of Green Gables," by Lucy Maud Montgomery, published in 1908. It was one of the first YA novels to feature a strong, unconventional female lead—Anne, the unwanted, unloved, but unbowed orphan who grabs hold of a chance for a new life and refuses to let go, no matter how difficult things get. Before Anne, most heroines were beautiful and angelic. "Anne of Green Gables" is over 100 years old, but its heroine measures up to any female lead contemporary YA novels have to offer.
ELA Middle School
Maya Angelou was an author, poet and icon. She grew up during segregation and used her work to empower and give voice to the African American community. Her memoir, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" changed the literary world and opened doors for African American authors and women.
Current Event December 31, 2014
Conflict and violence in Syria have displaced women and children to surrounding nations. Refugees living in Beirut, Lebanon have found voice and kinship through the ancient tragedy Antigone. Sophocles wrote Antigone in 441 BCE. The play is about a Princess dealing with the loss of war and daring to challenge the powerful. 250 years later some Syrian women see themselves in Antigone and have adapted the play to reflect their experiences.
Current Event December 5, 2014
In the Marines, ground combat units have always been made up of just men. A new yearlong experiment is putting female Marines to the test to see if they can make it through combat training and join male Marines in ground combat. If women can’t make it through the training some ask if the combat standards be changed. Listen to learn more about this experiment and the debate surrounding it.
Current Event October 31, 2014
When we imagine a witch today, we think about a halloween costume with a pointy black hat, warts and a broom. This public radio story takes us back to a darker period in colonial America, when people believed that witches lived among them unnoticed. At this time, accusations of being a witch led to the Salem witch trials and the execution of more than a dozen women. We hear from an author who recently compiled a book about the reality behind these accusations of witchery, and what they say about society and stereotypes.