In every country and culture, women play vital roles in society, but often the only role they are recognized for is their reproductive one. Women around the world have made great progress in improving their lives and the lives of their families, but they still face many inequities in political representation, economic well-being, health, and human rights. These inequities do not only affect individuals but also entire societies, as there is an increasing amount of evidence that improving the status of women is key to improving the health and well-being of families and stabilizing fertility rates around the world. In this activity, students explore the complex relationship between women’s status, development, and fertility. Sharing images of women in different regions exemplifies this information to engage various types of learners. In the following activity, students will first read an overview about the challenges facing girls and women in some of the world's less developed countries. They will then watch a series of photo essays and short videos online that illustrate different aspects of the real lives of girls and women including school, work, early marriage, pregnancy and motherhood. You may want to spread this activity out over the course of a week, having them look at one issue each day (education, etc.) and answer the discussion questions.
The inequities facing women around the globe affect population growth and quality of life for all.
Students will be able to: - Discuss how girls’ and women’s roles vary according to culture, especially with respect to education, work, marriage, and motherhood. - Compare their own school and work experiences with teens in other countries. - Research and write about different aspects of gender roles in this country and different countries around the world.
Language Arts, Social Studies, Women’s Studies
Student Reading, “Women: The Critical Link” Student Worksheet Internet access for viewing online photo essays and videos
Reading comprehension, active listening, discussion, making causeand-effect connections, research, writing (essays, summaries, book reports)
1. Women: The Critical Link
Distribute copies of the student reading, “Women: The Critical Link,” or have students read it online. This reading provides students with an overview of the status of women, especially in less developed countries. It highlights disparities in the treatment of males and females in many cultures in the following areas: health/nutrition, education, housework, gainful employment and political status.
Students read an article about women’s status in less developed countries and watch/listen to several online photo essays and videos of women around the world. They discuss what they have learned and extend their learning with research, persuasive essays and/or book reports.
©2010 Population Connection
A Girl’s Life
2. Female Voices
Now students can “put a face” on the issues by looking and listening to moving photo essays and videos that explore different aspects of women's lives. Distribute copies of the four Student Worksheets. Each one directs students to one or more photo essays or videos online that explore an aspect of women’s lives in less developed countries (education, work, marriage, and motherhood). You may wish to have students work on these independently or go over the discussion questions in small groups. Note: The video referenced in Student Worksheet 3 is 55 minutes long, while the photo essays for the other worksheets are much shorter.
3. What Do You Think?
Have students process what they’ve read and seen by writing one or more essays. Possible topics: • Why do you think the “traditional” role for women in many parts of the world has been subservient to men? If women do “hold up half the sky” why are they often not afforded equal respect in many...