Unladylike: Resources for Teaching Women’s History from PBS Learning Media


Dr. David J. Childs, D.D., Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University

Social studies and languages arts classrooms are wonderful spaces to introduce topics centered on diversity and inclusion. It is good to start teaching concepts of diversity and equity at an early age, as it will help students be more open minded towards those different than themselves. Educators often need resources to help them implement a more multicultural curriculum into their classrooms. In honor of women’s history month, PBS Learning Media has developed a collection of resources entitled “UnladyLike.”

Daisy Bates (Civil Rights Activist) with six members of the Little Rock Nine.
Courtesy of Independent Television Service.

PBS Website Description
There are a number of wonderful resources available on the site. It presents a diversity of women from various walks of life. Depending how the site is used, elementary, middle grades and secondary elementary teachers can implement these resources into their curriculum. The description on the PBS website states: 

“These digital resources present the rich history of 26 little-known Progressive Era women, diverse in profession, race, ethnicity, geographical and class backgrounds, sexual orientation and gender expression, who broke barriers in then-male-dominated fields such as science, business, journalism, exploration, and the arts. Touching on topics such as the labor movement, immigration, politics, civil rights, and women’s suffrage, these resources develop students’ historical thinking skills and help them make connections between past and present. Unladylike2020 is a timeless resource that was created to honor the centennial of women’s suffrage in August 2020. Recordings of the Unladylike2020 Webinar Series Elevating the Hidden History of American Women are now available…” on the website as well. 

There is a growing effort to limit the exposure of students to a more diverse curriculum. It is ever more important that our students be exposed to conversations surrounding social justice. In this same way, parents that homeschool their children can also use these as teaching resources, even if schools limit what students can be exposed to.   


  1. This article was great about showing where someone could get resources to further open their eyes. I think that it is very interesting to know which women were the forefront in breaking into what were male-dominated fields. I think that we still have to realize that there are opportunities for women to push forward and open more doors for the younger generation. I have been talking a lot lately of how I wish I could connect with people that have done what I am working towards for advice. I think that this is a great feat that women have done to know that if they were successful they would be the first ever to do it.

  2. I enjoyed reading and exploring the resources in this particular article because as a future educator, I think it is crucial that we implement and teach concepts of diversity and equity. Even if some schools are not as diverse, it is still important that we teach the diversity of women, inclusion, and equality. Especially with younger students, they will become more open-minded and grow up to be great leaders. I also like how homeschooled children can be exposed to these resources.

  3. I enjoyed this article along with examining the resources tied into this concept. Looking at women’s past and how women are to this day, there has been a major change in women’s strength, contributions, and achievements. I think it is important to incorporate this concept for children because as they get older, they will be more open minded and realize the struggles that women were faced and now can build respect for them and nourish self-esteem. Overall, I really like how PBS presents diversity of women and includes important topics such as labor movement, immigration, politics, civil rights, and women’s suffrage. When I teach, I will be sure to include these resources.

  4. As a future teacher, I resonated with this article; I am majoring in Secondary English education and getting a micro-credential in Literature, Justice, and Inclusion. It is essential to me to make my future classroom as diverse as possible to teach children diversity. This article has given me great resources to give to my class in the future. It is vital that the report mentions that children must learn about diversity at an early age because it is the truth that too many kids do not understand diversity. When I am a teacher, I would like to see that change.

  5. I like this article because it gives a valuable resource to teachers in the early grades, including middle grades which is often overlooked. Not only is the PBS program good because it is women’s history month, but it also helps bring diversity into the classroom. I like that the series talks about Progressive Era women that we may not know a lot about and brings them to the surface. It also states that these women all come from different backgrounds including ethnicity and sexual orientation, and seeing all these differences would be good for students without it feeling forced.

  6. I love that this article opens up with children need to learn from an early age about diversity and equality. It is true all children should learn that we all are not the same, but we all are equal. This was a great article. It helped me to realize how I really need to push and expose my students to understand more than what they are used to. I need to use more diverse materials and curriculum in my classroom in the future.

  7. I would like to relate this article back to previous class, History of the Civil Rights Movement. In that class we discussed Ella Baker a hidden feminine icon who led the Civil Rights movement behind closed doors. Yes this article mainly pertains to the progessive era, but I wanted to relate Ella Baker’s mother to that. Her mother inspired her because she was a progressive black woman and did not take any remarks from any one. They were born in a “upper class” black household at the time and so they were regarded well. That influence of a powerful progressive woman figure passed down to Ella and made her the iconic woman she was in the Civil Rights Era. And I am sure it can be said that many of the progressive era women, inspired many others in the future.

  8. I remember when I was in school we always learned about the Men in History, as a teacher it is great to have these resources to use to teach students about History but from different perspectives. I do believe that teaching diversity at a younger age helps students to keep an open mind. These resources will be a great tool to help students come to understand diversity.

  9. Throughout our curriculum as Elementary Education majors, we are taught how to incorporate diversity and inclusion. However, when most people hear the terms diversity, their mindset is so fixated on race that they tend to dismiss gender. Women played an exponential role throughout history. The majority of the legislation for women has changed within the last 100 years, so I love that this article included resources in teaching women’s history. The resources are women from a different eras, professions, ethnicity, and race.

  10. I wanted to chose this article because it is just as important to talk about the Women of History, than the Men of History. I was at Florence Elementary for one of my practicum placements. Their school is very diverse, so the teachers do a great job at implementing diversity in the curriculum as early as Kindergarten! I took some notes regarding this because some schools that are not as diverse, may not go through the same stories & curriculum as a school that is very diverse. I think it is vital that- no matter how diverse the school is- we still need to embed diversity in these young children’s minds.

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