From Then to Now: Elementary Students’ Perceptions of Gender Equity in History and Today

Alyssa Whitford



This study investigates how elementary students think about women’s experiences before and after participation in a literacy- and social studies- based intervention. Specifically, the study examines student perceptions of  women’s contributions and rights in both history and contemporary society. 

Lessons Learned

            The findings of this study indicate that students’ initial perceptions of women’s contributions tended to be limited to traditional or stereotypical roles centered on caretaking. They also demonstrated a general belief that gender-based inequity has existed only in the past. After participating in the literacy- and social studies- based intervention, students were far-more likely to describe women in counterstereotypical roles and to recognize contemporary, on-going inequity. 


            This study adds insight regarding how students think about women’s societal roles and contributions. In addition, this study contributes to an understanding of how students think about women’s rights and gender equity over time. Lastly, this study describes specific activities that can be used to challenge stereotypical views of women’s roles and rights and also provides options for further teaching about inequity. 


Women's Rights; Women's History; Gender Equity

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