On March 8th, people all over the world will be celebrating International Women’s Day and its theme of gender equality. While women have made progressive strides economically, there is still a long way to go.
According to the World Economic Forum the United States ranks 20th when it comes to the economic gap between men and women. Even Iceland, ranked number one, does not have complete gender parity.
Here are some lessons for middle school and high school students that highlight women in the economy.
The Gender Gap
- Making Sense with Paul Solman: Women’s Fund Seeks Share of Prosperity for Female-Focused Firm: In this video (8:49), Solman puts the spotlight on the lack of women in high positions in business today despite the fact that nearly half of advanced business degrees are earned by women. Solman interviews Sallie Krawcheck, Chair of Ellevate, about her new direction—investing in businesses that have a large proportion of women in high positions.
- Lowell Workers and Producers Respond to Incentives: At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, Francis Lowell built textile factories that only employed women. Documents attached to this lesson describe how the women evolved from being complacent to protesting the unfairness of their working conditions. The lesson highlights how economic incentives for factory owners and workers affect their behavior.
- Worker Safety: The Triangle Fire Legacy: The employees of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory were predominantly young women. When the factory caught fire in 1911, about 150 workers died because most exits were blocked. This tragedy led to new government policy supporting the safety of workers in all industries. In this lesson, students assess the potential costs, benefits, and effectiveness of government and labor actions that can be used to improve worker safety.
We hope you’ll celebrate International Women’s Day with us and use these lesson plans as a teachable moment in your classroom.