The Women's Movement

The Women's Movement was a diverse social moment in U.S. history. It sought equal opportunities for women in all aspects of their lives (personal, political, economic, etc.) 

The first wave of the women's feminist movement started in the 19th and early 20th century with leaders such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton fighting for legal rights for women such as the ability to vote and own property. The second wave of the women's movement, led by women such as Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, occurred in the 1960s and 70s and attempted to combat further social and political inequalities.  

This collection includes resources to support teaching both waves of the women's movement. 

  • Civil Rights and the Women's Movement

    Compare and contrast the experiences of African American and white women facing discrimination in the 1950s and 1960s. In a culminating activity, students will then research current areas of discrimination and formulate an anti-discrimination campaign.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Title IX and the Education Amendments of 1972 | Makers

    In this lesson, students will learn about the genesis of Title IX and its impact on providing more opportunities for women in athletics and academia. Students will assume the role of a special interest group and explore the controversy surrounding Title IX, critically analyze the costs and benefits of the law, and develop a promotional campaign either supporting or objecting to Title IX.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Discontent and Transformation

    In this lesson, students will analyze the reasons many women of the 1950s and early 1960s felt discontent with their position in society and how they experienced difficulty and resistance when they tried to improve themselves. Students will also analyze the issues behind gender discrimination and examine several potential gender discrimination scenarios to determine if laws had been broken.

    Grades: 6-12
  • ERA and Political Backlash

    In this lesson, students will examine the Equal Rights Amendment and discuss its meaning. Students will gain an understanding of the amendment process as prescribed by Article V of the U.S. Constitution and the politically conservative backlash that led to the failure in passing the Equal Rights Amendment. In a final activity, students will debate several important claims made by supporters and opponents of the amendment in small debate teams.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Library of Congress: Media Gallery | Women's Suffrage

    Teachers may use these Library of Congress primary source documents to support teaching about women’s suffrage in the United States. The set provides evidence for a study of the chronology of the women’s suffrage movement. It can also be used to stimulate comparisons between the suffrage movement in the US and England. This set also supports the teaching of state voting history, especially for states with early voting rights for women. This primary source set documents evidence from popular culture, as well as the causes and effects of the women’s suffrage movement. This set includes images, song sheets, articles, statistical documents, political cartoons, and sound files.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • You Decide: The Women's Movement? | A Biography of America

    Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act outlawed discrimination on the basis of sex. During the same decade, women began to organize for greater societal and economic changes in their lives. In this interactive from A Biography of America, join in a debate on whether the Women's Movement of the 1960s and 1970s contributed to the improvement of the lives of women in the United States.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Women's History: Activity Pack | History Detectives

    Women have made vital but often little-known contributions to American history. These lesson plans and videos are based on History Detectives episodes that examine artifacts which provide clues to how women have been integral in the visual arts, in fighting political causes and on battlefields. They offer students opportunities to hold a history-based political convention, create visual arts designs, and do biographical research.

    Grades: 4-13+
  • Why Should Women Vote? The Suffrage Question

    In this activity, students must analyze and chronologically sort a group of documents pertaining to the women's suffrage movement as it intensified following passage of the 15th Amendment granting black men the right to vote.


    Grades: 7-13+