'Victims of history': Challenging students’ perceptions of women in history

Teaching History article

By Bridget Lockyer and Abigail Tazzymant, published 3rd January 2017

As postgraduate historians with teaching responsibilities at the University of York, Bridget Lockyer and Abigail Tazzyman were concerned to tackle some of the challenges reported by their students who had generally only encountered women’s history in a disconnected way through stand-alone topics or modules. Their response was to create a series of five workshops for Year 12 students, intended both to investigate the impact of this separation from ‘mainstream history’ and to give the students a greater and more diverse knowledge of women’s history, encouraging critical engagement with the curriculum.

In this article they first explore the barriers to learning andteaching women’s history as revealed in student questionnaires, with interviews  with history teachers and recordings of the workshops that they ran. They then present a number of suggestions as to how teachers could help students to think about the past lives of both women and men, ensuring they are not automatically presented in binary opposition and that the diversity of experiences across genders is explored.

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