Women’s Issues Then and Now
The National Women’s Conference of 1977 attracted 20,000 women and men to discuss and set an agenda for specific women’s issues. The majority of conference attendees expressed support for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which had been written in 1923 and which would have provided constitutional protection against gender discrimination.
Many of the issues that were important in 1977 remain significant today. In this lesson, students will learn about the ERA and about some of the many issues discussed at the conference. They will investigate important women’s issues of the present time and compare those issues to the ones that women fought for in the 1970s. They will conclude by writing brief essays about one contemporary women’s issue.
Women in the Media
We all see countless media images each day, many of them portraying women and girls in distinctive ways that are not necessarily representative of the “typical” woman or girl. This is also true of portrayals of men and boys, although this lesson will focus on women and girls.
A related issue is the fact that women are underrepresented in news and sports stories and, when they are included, they are often portrayed in stereotypically feminine ways. This was true of media coverage of the 1977 National Women’s Conference and the fight to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. Both stories were under reported and often did not receive adequate or accurate coverage in the stories that did discuss the event.
Students will read about the problems of under reporting women and women’s issues, and they will explore some of the stereotypical ways in which women and girls are portrayed in the mass media. They will analyze the covers of magazines that are popular with teenage girls and write paragraphs expressing their opinions about women and girls in the media.