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Celebrate Women’s History Month with these Teaching Resources!

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US Army nurses riding in a jeep during WWII. Gift of Bob Harris, from the collection of The National World War II Museum.

US Army nurses riding in a jeep during WWII. Gift of Bob Harris, from the collection of The National World War II Museum. 2010.087.098.

From Rosie the Riveters and patriotic housewives to women serving in the armed forces, women were an indispensable part of the war effort during WWII. Learn more about the diverse roles that American women played during the war years with some of our educational resources at The National WWII Museum.

The Digital Collections of The National WWII Museum contains a variety of photographs and oral histories that show the range of experiences that women had during the war. Women like Martha Erickson and Rose Marie Weber worked in intelligence, with Erickson obtaining maps for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in Washington, DC, and Weber decoding messages in San Francisco as part of her job with the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service in the Navy). Other interviews on the Digital Collections site include the accounts of a female engineer, a Holocaust survivor, nurses, POWs, WASPs (Women’s Airforce Service Pilots) and one of the first female officers for the United States Marine Corps’ Women’s Reserve. These and other oral histories are great resources that teachers can use to introduce students to the many opportunities, as well as types of gender discrimination, that women experienced during the war.

 

For those who are curious to learn about what life was like for young school-aged women during WWII, See You Next Year! High School Yearbooks during WWII provides a fascinating glimpse into 1940s student life.  By examining yearbooks as primary sources, students can make connections between their own lives and those of students from the past. Suggested lesson plans highlight aspects of student life like clubs, WWII slang, and wartime volunteering, and show what yearbooks can tell us about racial norms and gender expectations.

Teachers can also bring the experiences of WWII women into the classroom through our virtual field trip, “It’s OUR War , Too! Women in WWII.”  Other free educational materials include downloadable lesson plans and fact sheets on women in the workforce; primary sources and personal stories contained within In Focus: Women and War, and more! Apart from Women’s History Month, the Museum’s resources can help educators to integrate women’s perspectives into their curricula year round.

Post by Megan Byrnes, K-12 Curriculum Coordinator

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