Did you know that Women’s History Month began as Women’s History Week? In fact, the celebration of women’s history is a fairly recent celebration as its origins go back to 1978 – only 44 years ago! It started in California when Sonoma school district devoted a week to celebrating women’s contributions to history. The idea of celebrating women became more popular and spread across the country. Then in 1980, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the week of March 8th as National History Week. And in 1986, Congress passed a resolution for Women’s History Month. For more on the creation of Women’s History Month take a look at History.com’s article, opens a new window, which includes a brief timeline video of famous American women. And for a worldwide interactive timeline on women’s contributions, see Women’s Footprint in History, opens a new window created by UNWomen.org. In fact, there are some really great websites for women’s history information, such as: WomensHistoryMonth.gov, opens a new window, NationalWomensHistoryAlliance.org, opens a new window-the organization which was instrumental in having women’s history become a month-long celebration, and WomensHistory.org, opens a new window-the website for the National Women’s History Museum. But you can also find reliable and informative articles on women and their contributions to history using the library’s online resources!
For all the lovers of knowledge, we’ll start with resources with information for everyone of any age:
To begin our tour of library resources for women in history, let’s first go to World Book Timelines, opens a new window. This resource contains quite a few interesting timelines for women. If you search the word “Woman,” it will pull up one timeline which is for the Woman Suffrage Movement. But search the word “Women,” and now you will see 19 timelines to choose from:
As you see, many are covering the accomplishments of women in various sports, but there are also one’s covering women’s contributions to science and space, and women’s firsts.
With all the names provided in these timelines, a great resource to visit next is the Biography Reference Center, opens a new window. Here you can find detailed biographies on people throughout the world and history. You can search for specific women’s names or go to the Biographies By Genre column on the right, scroll down the page, and click on Women.
You will now see a huge list of women from throughout history, including the present day. And, while the list is primarily filled with American women, there are women from other countries as well, such as: Live Arnesen, a Norwegian Explorer and Educator; Lise Meitner, an Austrian-Swedish Nuclear Physicist; and Valentina Tereshkova, a Russian Cosmonaut.
Moving from biographies to educational videos, we come to the Digital Video Collection, opens a new window. This resource is filled with educational videos for all ages. A keyword search for “Women’s History” found 4 videos:
As you can see, A History of Equal Rights in America is a series of videos. While the keyword search only found 2 of the program videos, you can Browse by Series to find all 8 videos:
- A History of equal rights in America / Program 1, 1772-1837
- A History of equal rights in America / Program 2, 1837-1862
- A History of equal rights in America / Program 3, 1863-1902
- A History of equal rights in America / Program 4, 1903-1935
- A History of equal rights in America / Program 5, 1936-1963
- A History of equal rights in America / Program 6, 1964-1970
- A History of equal rights in America / Program 7, 1971-1973
- A History of equal rights in America / Program 8, 1973-2011
And another series that I found right beside the Equal Rights series was: History of Women’s Achievement in America: America Becomes a Super power (1936-1956) / Volume Six. You can also Browse by Subject. And in the W’s, I found these choices:
- 1920-1929 boom to bust
- 20th century turning points in U.S. history Program 3, 1919-1928
- America Becomes a Super power (1936-1956)
- Our Ohio Episode 303
- Our Ohio Episode 325
Women air pilots
- 20th century turning points in U.S. history Program 4, 1929-1943
- America Becomes a Super power (1936-1956)
- Ohio Heritage Fellowship - Music from the Hill of Home: Katie Laur
- 19th century turning points in U.S. history Volume 6, 1866-1870.
- Segment 1: 1867 Carpetbaggers descend on the South (3:00)
- Segment 2: 1867 U.S. acquires Alaska Seward's Folly (2:36)
- Segment 3: 1868 President Johnson is impeached (4:08)
- Segment 4: 1869 Completion of the Trans Continental Railroad (5:50)
- Segment 5: 1870 Rockefeller incorporates Standard Oil Company of Ohio (5:26)
As you can see, there are a quite a few educational video clips to choose from for those interested in learning about women’s history in American and Ohio.
Moving down the alphabet, the next resource is devoted primarily to eBooks: eBook Collection, opens a new window from EBSCO. Here you can find some great women’s history eBooks by first using the column on the leftside of the screen: Browse by Category. Scroll down and click on History. Now click on Advanced Search and in the second search box, type: women. You want the search to look like this:
This will find over 280 results. Some interesting ones that I noticed as I scrolled down the screen were:
- Wildcat Women: Narratives of Women Breaking Ground in Alaska's Oil and Gas Industry
- The Invisible Woman: Aspects of Women's Work in Eighteenth-Century Britain
- Enterprising Women: Gender, Race, and Power in the Revolutionary Atlantic
- From Spinster to Career Woman: Middle-Class Women and Work in Victorian England
- Women Have Always Worked: A Concise History
To find results geared for the younger grades, back on the main page Browse by Category, choose Children’s and Young Adult Nonfiction, then click Advanced Search and in the second search box, type: women. Your search should look like this:
This will find over 60 results to browse through. Here’s a list of just a few of the many interesting books found on the first page of results were:
- Women in Sports
- Women in World War I
- Women’s Rights Movement
- Architecture: Cool Women Who Design Structures
- Hidden Human Computers: The Black Women of NASA
All of these are full text ebooks which you can read entirely through using this resource.
Next, let’s use EBSCO’s Explora. We have 3 versions of Explora, but the one for all ages of knowledge seekers would be Explora Public Libraries, opens a new window. This resource includes articles from magazines, newspapers and books, plus photographs and videos. A great search to use to find lots of relevant women’s history articles is: “(woman or women) and (history or contribution or contributions or achievement or achievements)”. In Explora Public Libraries, this search found over 257,000 articles to read and 996 video clips.
On this tour of online resources for women’s history, we now arrive at History Reference Center, opens a new window. Searching “Women’s History” finds over 14,000 articles and books. Take a look at the first page of results here:
With this all age resource, you can use the Advanced Search to limit results by Lexile Reading / Grade levels:
- Up to 500 / Grades K-2
- 300-800 / Grades 3-4
- 550-1000 / Grades 5-6
- 700-1100 / Grades 7-8
- 850-1200 / Grades 9-10
- 950-1300+ / Grades 11-12
This way you can locate the articles geared specifically for the younger grades or the older grades.
Hoopla, opens a new window, the library’s resource which provides audiobooks, ebooks, magazines, music, movies and TV shows is our next resource. Here you can do a keyword search for “Women’s History, opens a new window” and find over 11,900 results. You can also search “Women’s History Month, opens a new window” and find over 1,000 results including over 150 movies for children through adults. They have even created featured collections of movies & TV shows:
In addition, I found some great eBook collections for this blog topic by browsing:
- eBooks - Women's History Month, opens a new window featured collection
- eBooks – Genres – Biography & Autobiography - Women, opens a new window
- eBooks – Genres – History – Women, opens a new window
- eBooks – Genres – Juvenile Nonfiction – Biography & Autobiography - Women, opens a new window
- eBooks – Genres – Juvenile Nonfiction – Girls & Women, opens a new window
There are featured collections of audiobooks for this month for adults and children as well:
There is even a featured collection of Music albums for Women's History Month, opens a new window!
From here, we move back to an eBook & eAudiobook resource: OverDrive eBooks & Audiobooks, opens a new window. For adults, to find women’s history ebooks, click Subjects, then scroll down to Nonfiction and click Women’s Studies, opens a new window. There are over 120 titles to choose from. For teens, there are three collections of eBooks to enjoy this month:
- Fierce Females, opens a new window which has 64 titles to enjoy.
- Fierce Females, opens a new window while the same collection name as the first collection, there are an additional 36 titles here.
- Historically Awesome Leading Ladies, opens a new window has 20 titles to read.
For children, there is a Girl Power Kids Collection, opens a new window which has over 20 fiction and nonfiction titles to enjoy.
Now let’s take a look at resources great for students from the youngest grades through college.
Resources for Grades K-6:
Our first resource in this grade range provides access to both eBooks and Videos: Highlights Library, opens a new window. This resource has material for those as young as 3 years old and all the way up to the 5th grade. In checking this resource for women’s history, I found that it did not have any videos for this topic. However, when I limited the Books to Nonfiction and searched “woman”, I found 12 books:
I retried the search, using the word “women”, and found another 12 books:
As you can see, once again, just by changing the search term from the singular ‘woman’ to the plural ‘women’ found different books to use when teaching children about women’s history.
Our next resource is one of the newer resources provided to all Ohio residents through INFOhio: Capstone Interactive eBooks, opens a new window. This resource is geared for students in grades 4 to 6, and it provides both full text and read aloud access to a variety of eBooks. I tried a keyword search for ‘women’, and found 20 eBooks:
I also searched ‘woman’, and found these titles:
As you again can see, just changing the search from plural ‘women’ to singular ‘woman’ found an additional 9 eBooks of prominent women to study this month.
Now let’s check out PebbleGo Next, opens a new window. This resource has articles, activities, videos, and games for grades 3 to 5. You will discover many famous women by browsing through the many sub-categories under Biographies. To find articles for Women’s History month, click on Social Studies, then United States, next U.S. History, then Important People in U.S. History, choose
- Clara Barton
- Rosa Parks
- Susan B. Anthony
Going back a step to U.S. History, click on Civil Rights and choose:
- Women’s Right to Vote
And if you go back once more to U.S. History, click on Documents that Shaped the United States and choose:
- Nineteenth Amendment
Next, let’s use EBSCO’s Explora. As mentioned earlier, there are 3 versions of Explora. For students in grades K-5, there is Explora Primary Schools, opens a new window. This resource includes articles from magazines, newspapers and books, plus photographs and videos. A great search to use to find lots of relevant women’s history articles is: “(woman or women) and (history or contribution or contributions or achievement or achievements)”. In Explora Primary Schools, this search found over 86,000 results.
Another resource filled with facts and articles from books, magazines, & newspapers is Gale in Context: Elementary, opens a new window. This is another K-5 grade resource. Searching the word “Women” found:
- Book Articles (42)
- News (10,412)
- Magazines (1,167)
- Biographies (695)
- Pictures (969)
It also came up with a suggested topic of: Voting Rights for Women. Some interesting results were:
- New books showcase women who were pioneers
- African American men and women made notable advances in technology
- Barrier-Breaking Women
- Little Giants: 10 Hispanic Women Who Made History
Moving on to Lincoln Library Online, opens a new window, you will find here lots of great articles and biographies on a variety of subjects. This resource actually has material for all grades, from kindergarten through 12th. An easy search to pull up lots of articles for Women’s History month is just search: Women. I found over 2,500 articles. Among the first results, some interesting articles to look at would be:
- Women of the Revolutionary War
- First English Women in America
- The Origins of the Women's Suffrage Movement
- The Women's Club Movement
- Women in Early Labor Movements
Plus, check out these 4 Women’s History Month resources created by FactCite’s Lincoln Library Online:
- 31 Days of Women's Achievement, opens a new window
- Women's History Month: Who Inspires YOU?, opens a new window
- Focus on Women in Colonial and The Revolutionary War, opens a new window
- Focus on Women in Engineering and Science, opens a new window
Another great resource for facts is World Almanac for Kids Elementary, opens a new window. This features articles, videos, interactive games, and activities for grades K-5. While searching “Women’s History” found only a few results, switching to searching the word “Women” found lots results, including biographies of famous women and information on women’s daily life of throughout history.
Our final resources for grades K-5 is World Book for Kids, opens a new window. This online version from the well-known encyclopedia publisher has activities, illustrations, maps, and more to engage children’s different learning styles. Searching “Women” finds over 400 articles, over 130 pictures, and 8 videos. In the top results were:
- Women’s Movement
- International Women’s Day (which is March 8th)
- Women’s History Month
- Mott, Lucretia Coffin
- Famous Five
By the way, have you heard of the “Famous Five”? If not, search women in this resource and read about this group of 5 women.
Resources for grades 6-12:
For the third time, we come to EBSCO’s Explora. This time we look at Explora Secondary Schools, opens a new window for grades 6-12. As mentioned previously, this resource includes articles from magazines, newspapers and books, plus photographs and videos. A great search to use to find lots of relevant women’s history articles is: “(woman or women) and (history or contribution or contributions or achievement or achievements)”. Explora Secondary Schools found over 241,000 results.
Gale eBooks, opens a new window provides full text access to a variety of reference books. Before the internet and this online resource, these would be books that were limited to in-library use only. Now, anyone with a library card from the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County and a device that connects to the internet can search and read articles from these reference books anywhere in the world. Similar to using EBSCO’s eBook Collection, the more relevant women’s history articles are found by first using Browse Collections and clicking History. Then, click in the upper left, where you see the phrase “search within collection”, and type “women”, and click the magnifying glass (or press Enter on the keyboard). This search finds over 1,800 results. When I did this search, the first 3 results were:
- Colonial Women
- The story of the colonial era has usually been told as if white European males acted alone in settling North America. Prior to the mid-twentieth century, history books generally gave only slight attention to the lives of…
- Women, Religion and
- The role of women in American religious history has been important, if relatively hidden. That said, women also have played an important role in religion's public life, including founding at least three American...
- Deaf Women United
- Deaf Women United (DWU) is a leading grassroots organization for deaf and hard of hearing women in North America. A nonprofit organization that came into being in 1985, DWU's mission is to recognize and empower deaf and...
Browsing through these articles and others that were found may introduce you to aspects of women’s history that had not occurred to you.
Similar to Gale eBooks, Salem Online, opens a new window provides full text access to reference books. For the topic of Women’s History, there are two books to search through in this resource:
Each entry in American First Ladies, opens a new window includes a picture and the following
- "Early Life" deals with family and educational background
- "Marriage and Family" discusses each first lady's relationship with the president
- "Presidency and First Ladyship" covers the first lady's years in the White House
- "Legacy" provides additional insights into those activities and accomplishments for which the first lady became known.
Working Americans 1810-2015 Volume VI: Women at Work, opens a new window contains 42 Personal Profiles divided into 13 chapters, each covering a decade from 1810-2015. The life of three to five Working Women is profiled in each chapter. You will learn about their annual income and household budgets, life at home and work, community involvement, prices of the time and cost of living, working conditions, social activities, and much more.
Our next resource is great for those looking for pro/con debate type articles: Opposing Viewpoints in Context, opens a new window. There are lots of results when you search “Women’s History”. But it’s also interesting to click the “Browse All 464 Issues” found in the lower right corner on the main page of this resource. Among the issues relevant to women are:
- Equal Rights Amendment
- Women in Combat
- Women in Politics
- Women in Professional Sports
- Women in the Workplace
- Women's Rights
When you search by keyword or choose one of the browse topics, the results provide not only a variety of viewpoint articles, but also biographies, reference works, infographics, statistics, primary sources, magazine & newspaper articles, and audio & video recordings – and even recommended websites.
Another debate resource is Points of View Reference Center, opens a new window. A keyword search for “women’s history” here finds 17 full text results. Going back to the main page of this resource, under the Browse by Category, you will find Women's Issues, which includes such topics as:
- Equal Rights Amendment
- Feminism - UPDATED
- Gender Equality
- Title IX
- Women as Priests
- Women's Rights
Clicking on one of these topics will open an overview article with Related Items links on the right to click to see the Point, Counterpoint, and Guide to Critical Analysis. On the left, there are links to Related Information: various points of view; magazine, newspaper, & book articles; radio & TV transcripts; and some primary source documents. As you can see, again you will find quite a variety of resources on women’s history by either browsing by topic or searching by keyword.
Looking for facts, a new resource provided by INFOhio is World Almanac for Kids, opens a new window. Geared for students in grades 6-8, this features articles, videos, games, science projects, fun facts, maps, flags and more. Among the many results found when searching “Women” were:
- Some important women biologists
- Some important women scientists
- Nineteenth Amendment grants women the right to vote
- Women working at home in Ancient Greece
Searching “Women’s History” found articles on many significant women, such as:
- Gloria Steinem
- Susan B. Anthony
- Betty Friedan
- Abigail Adams
Our final resources for this section are two more World Book resources. World Book Student, opens a new window for grades 5-10 and World Book Advanced, opens a new window for grades 9-12. These multimedia online encyclopedias provide not only articles, but also pictures, sounds, videos & animations, tables, resource guides and recommended websites. Both resources find similar results when searching “Women’s History” or “Women.” In fact, the only difference is that World Book Student includes Special Reports.
College Level Resources:
For those looking for a college-level discussion of women’s history. Oxford Research Encyclopedias, opens a new window provides access to full-text peer reviewed articles from 25 Oxford college-level encyclopedias. Searching “Women’s History” finds over 4,900 results, with academic articles covering the history of women in countries from across the globe. Of course, you can find lots more results by going more general and searching the word “Women,” or you may want to try other search phrases, such as “Women’s Movement” or “Women’s Rights”. Very Short Introductions, opens a new window has the full text to American Women’s History: A Very Short Introduction. This book actually has over 140 pages, so you may want to consider is as a actually being a fairly detailed introduction!
As you see, the library has lots of reliable online resources to use to find information on women and women’s history!