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In this project I analyze the representation of women in high school American history curriculum. with a specials focus on Illinois in particular where this research was completed. While the study of history has evolved greatly, especially in an educational climate that has recently been questioning the best practices to have students successfully engage with the practice and study of history, a gaping whole remains: the representation of women. Women have become a more fundamental part of history at collegiate levels with gender and social history increasing in importance but our high school students are missing out on a history of half of the county's people.
This thesis utilizes both quantitative methods to examine the representation of women in high school textbooks over time as well as a qualitative case study-based approach in interviewing current practicing American history teachers. While the results did show positive aspirations with teachers who are aware that women need to be better included. each one admitted there is always more voices that they can help expose their students to. In short: it is still clear that there is work to be done to craft the fullest picture of women in American history.
Teachers today face a lot of requirements; in order to ease the burden of an evolving curriculum, this thesis also includes an appendix of lesson plans and curricular materials for inclusion of women and women's history with already familiar topics in high school American history classes. These lessons and materials target topics that are already a part of American history- not to create a specific women's history unit. giving students the opportunity to inquire more deeply about how social institutions like gender are created and allows for the whole of history to be seen in a new light. That way women become a part of the broader reaching narrative and find there place in American history as the important and vital citizens they are.
Borowski, Brittany, "Blank Pages: The Representation of Women in High School American History Classes" (2018). Undergraduate Honors Theses. 116.