SOL Day 8

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Today is International Women’s Day.  When I got to school and flipped through the newspaper, the full-page ad in the above collage caught my eye.  I don’t usually have my students look at the ads, unless we are studying rhetoric, but after checking out the website listed in today’s NYTimes ad I knew we would use it in class.

Ada Lovelace. Charlotte Bronte. Henrietta Lacks.  Ida B. Wells.  None of these women received the honor of having their obituary printed in the Times.  Even in the last two years, the paper admits that 1 in 5 people in the obituaries were female.

The ad included a link to Overlooked, the new project from the Times that will focus on expanding the lens used when selecting obituaries that are printed in the paper.  It’s currently focused on women, but it will expand to other groups in the near future.  Right now, they are highlighting famous women who deserved to have their obituary printed in the paper by publishing the obituaries on this new website.

In honor of International Women’s Day, I had my students explore the website and choose a woman who interested them.  They read her obituary and then wrote a summary to share with the class.  We spent about 10 minutes in each class sharing the stories of these women.  I think we all learned a lot. Some of my girls were furious when they learned that these women weren’t honored during their life and/or death.

Some of their classmates were blown away learning about women like Ada Lovelace. One student said, “Wait a second.  This woman invented coding and predicted AI, and no one talks about her in school?!”.  This prompted a great conversation about representation and why it matters.

I challenge you to take a moment today to check out the women who were Overlooked.  The Times is taking nominations for other overlooked people to add to the collection in the future, so don’t hesitate to make suggestions!


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