Women as Changemakers

Introduction | Background Knowledge | Activities | Extensions | Standards

Woman holding protest sign - sorry for the inconvenience, we are trying to change the world.


Doing something to improve a community is an admirable task. Inspiring others to join a movement is making change. Women have had to fight for their places in a patriarchal society. Many women were content to run households, care for their families, and allow the men around them to make decisions on their behalf. But many were not. Some women started revolutions in their homes, communities, and the world, making each a better place. Women have rallied their friends and communities to make a difference. Women have followed their passions and visions to be changemakers in the world around them.

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African American woman in t-shirt with the word Volunteer on it

Background Knowledge

A changemaker is a person who creatively solves a social problem. Changemakers have good intentions but must act on those intentions to make a change. These empathetic people identify a societal need and work tenaciously to solve it. These changes are addressed for the greater good, not for the changemaker alone. Changemakers work to solve problems in their communities, living and working among the people they encourage to support the cause.

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Women at protest standing holding hands


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Graphic: You can change the world, girl


  • Being a Changemaker
  • You Be the Biographer
    • Students read about a female change maker and create a biographical presentation about the person. Consider giving students a choice of how to share about their subject. They can write a paper or share information through a Timeline (TeachersFirst review). Try a Free Template to make a brochure or newspaper article (TeachersFirst review).
  • Compare Women Who Made Change
  • Learn About Good Trouble
    • Discover a topic at Flip (TeachersFirst review) that encourages students to think about how individuals can change the world. Sign in to Flip using Google or Microsoft and use the search box to search for topics related to women leaders.
    • Assign Lessons in Good Trouble that incorporate Minecraft to engage students in learning about social justice leaders.

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Women sitting in a circle with raised hands


  • AASL National School Library Standards
    • Inquire Shared Foundation, Think Domain - Learners display curiosity and initiative by: 1. Formulating questions about a personal interest or a curricular topic. 2. Recalling prior and background knowledge as context for new meaning.
    • Inquire Shared Foundation, Share Domain - Learners adapt, communicate, and exchange learning products with others in a cycle that includes: 1. Interacting with content presented by others. 2. Providing constructive feedback. 3. Acting on feedback to improve. 4. Sharing products with an authentic audience.
    • Include Shared Foundation, Share Domain - Learners exhibit empathy with and tolerance for diverse ideas by: 1. Engaging in informed conversation and active debate. 2. Contributing to discussions in which multiple viewpoints on a topic are expressed.
    • Include Shared Foundation, Grow Domain - Learners demonstrate empathy and equity in knowledge building within the global learning community by: 1. Seeking interactions with a range of learners.
    • Collaborate Shared Foundation, Think Domain - Learners identify collaborative opportunities by: 1. Demonstrating their desire to broaden and deepen understandings. 2. Developing new understandings through engagement in a learning group. 3. Deciding to solve problems informed by group interaction.
    • Collaborate Shared Foundation, Create Domain - Learners participate in personal, social, and intellectual networks by: 1. Using a variety of communication tools and resources. 2. Establishing connections with other learners to build on their own prior knowledge and create new knowledge.
    • Collaborate Shared Foundation, Grow Domain - Learners actively participate with others in learning situations by: 2. Recognizing learning as a social responsibility.
    • Explore Shared Foundation, Think Domain - Learners develop and satisfy personal curiosity by: 1. Reading widely and deeply in multiple formats and writing and creating for a variety of purposes.
    • Explore Shared Foundation, Create Domain - Learners construct new knowledge by: 1. Problem solving through cycles of design, implementation, and reflection.
    • Explore Shared Foundation, Share Domain - Learners engage with the learning community by: 3. Collaboratively identifying innovative solutions to a challenge or problem.
    • Explore Shared Foundation, Grow Domain - Learners develop through experience and reflection by: 1. Iteratively responding to challenges. 2. Recognizing capabilities and skills that can be developed, improved, and expanded. 3. Open-mindedly accepting feedback for positive and constructive growth.
  • ISTE Standards for Students
    • Empowered Learner - 1b. Students build networks and customize their learning environments in ways that support the learning process. 1c. Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.
    • Knowledge Constructor - 3d. Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories, and pursuing answers and solutions.
    • Innovative Designer - 4d. Students exhibit a tolerance for ambiguity, perseverance, and the capacity to work with open-ended problems.
    • Global Collaborator - 7c. Students contribute constructively to project teams, assuming various roles and responsibilities to work effectively toward a common goal.

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