Women's Many Paths to the History Books
As we celebrate Women’s History Month, it’s important to show young women that various female historical figures paved very different ways to the history books.
By Jen Lilienstein
As we celebrate Women’s History Month in our classrooms, it’s important to show young women not only that various female historical figures paved different ways to the history books, but that they had different outlooks on life, and measured their own success in different ways. Just as there are a wide variety of personality types, there are a wide variety of ways in which to leave your mark on the world for future generations. Here are just a few examples:
The Introverted Thinker (ITP) vs. the Introverted Feeler (IFP)
- Introverted Thinker: Marie Curie (Scientist)
- Quote: "Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas."
- Introverted Feeler: Helen Keller (Deaf/blind activist)
- Quote: "Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light."
While both of these women felt very differently about the importance of feelings and people in their work, both reveled in living in uncharted territory—a hallmark characteristic of perceivers.
Marie Curie was once quoted as saying, “There are sadistic scientists who hurry to hunt down errors instead of establishing the truth.” Helen Keller once quipped, “No pessimist ever…sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.” For both women, they didn’t care about following rules, but about leaving the door open for possibilities.
The Introverted Intuitive (INJ) vs. the Introverted Sensor (ISJ)
- Introverted Intuitive: Jane Goodall (Primatologist)
- Quote: “I think we're still in a muddle with our language, because once you get words and a spoken language it gets harder to communicate.”
- Introverted Sensor: Mother Teresa (Missionary Nun)
- Quote: “If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”
Jane Goodall’s focus in most of her memorable quotes remains on the big picture, while Mother Teresa’s words remind us of the importance of the details. However, for both women, their marks were made through their work one-on-one and in small groups—which is the way in which most introverts choose to make a difference.
The Extraverted Sensor (ESP) vs. the Extraverted Intuitive (ENP)
- Extraverted Sensor: Mae West (Actress)
- Quote: “An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.”
- Extraverted Intuitive: Julia Child (Chef)
- Quote: “You learn to cook so that you don't have to be a slave to recipes. You get what's in season and you know what to do with it.
As an Extraverted Sensor, Mae West lived her life grounded in the immediate present and in “what is.” What she soaked in from life—all of the sensory data—helped her actions breathe more life into the words she spoke on screen. As an Extraverted Intuitive, Julia Child reveled in what could be in the immediate future. She inspired a generation of chefs by straying from what “should be”—following recipes line-by-line—into what “could be” by applying general techniques and food pairing strategies she’d learned to what was in season or on hand.
The Extraverted Feeler (EFJ) vs. the Extraverted Thinker (ETJ)
- Extraverted Feeler: Margaret Mead (Anthropologist)
- Quote: “If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities.”
- Extraverted Thinker: Margaret Thatcher (British Prime Minister)
- Quote: “To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.”
As an extraverted feeler, Margaret Mead “measure[d] success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings.” In contrast, Margaret Thatcher wasn’t so touchy feely, but instead measured her success by sticking to her guns and her gut instead of trying to establish consensus among people.
Much can be learned and appreciated from the contributions and unique perspectives of EACH of these women…just as much can be learned and appreciated from the contributions and unique perspectives of each student in school.
Lesson Framework for Grades 3-8
Have students identify the famous female they resonate with best from the article, then do a quick self-evaluation.
- In which ways were they the same as the person they each picked out before taking the quiz?
- In which ways do they differ?
- Take a look at the longer lists of individuals on the links listed in the conclusion of the self-evaluation. As a class, discuss which people students feel they are most and least like and why.
- How can they apply what they have learned about people and personalities to their studies and their lives?
- Have students think-pair-share how their personalities are similar to and different from each other.
More Women's History Month Resources on Lesson Planet:
Pupils examine the life, travels, and cultural experiences of Margaret Mead. Group work and inquiry activities highlight the qualities that Margaret Mead possessed and the places to which she traveled.
Students compare and contrast the reigns of women rulers throughout history. Lesson incorporates both research and panel discussion.
Scholars analyze information about flavors and ingredients that create a unique flavor of a culture. They make recommendations on menu items appropriate for international buffet.
A student-created, comprehensive 37-slide presentation on the life and contributions of Marie Curie awaits your upcoming chemists! With plenty of photographs, this resource introduces the woman who is responsible for our early understanding of radioactivity.
Pupils study about Helen Keller through Internet sites by reading part of her autobiography and by reading quotations taken from her writings. They write a paragraph using supporting information learned from these sources.
For this advocacy lesson, scholars investigate the life and work of Jane Goodall. While examining Goodall's work as an animal advocate, they explore their own personal advocacy styles.
Pupils examine the life of Mother Teresa and her contributions to humanitarian services. They listen to a guest speaker, listen to a teacher-led lecture, write an essay, complete journal entries, and participate in a service project for a humanitarian service organization in their community.