In December, 2013, Time published a list of the 100 most significant figures in history. Number one is Jesus, number thirty-six is George W. Bush, and number 100 is John Locke.
And the women? Only three names place among the hundred. Number 13 is Elizabeth I. Queen Victoria ranks 16. Joan of Arc comes in at 95. No American women made this list, which the authors (two men) acknowledge is primarily white and Eurocentric.
At school and home, are we doing any better than 3%? Are we ensuring that our girls and boys learn about the significance of Elizabeth Blackwell, Frances Perkins, Marian Anderson, Maya Lin, Sally Ride, and Sonja Sotomayor (and these are just from the last one hundred seventy years)? We can’t ignore half of humanity any longer.
Change begins by noticing even the smallest things and then collecting data, so here’s a challenge to try throughout March. Count the number of male and female pictures you see on the front page of the daily newspaper. At the end of the week (or month), look at your results.
Do your results reflect your beliefs about the world in which you hope your students will thrive?
Or do you see that the world needs your help? If so, how will you effect change?