Women and Girls Lead, Volume 1

Lesson Plans and Film Modules

Students will study the context in which Benazir Bhutto became the first woman leader of a Muslim nation, and the complexities of being a female leader in a Muslim country.

From the film Bhutto

Students will investigate Pakistan’s struggle to maintain a lasting democratic government, and look at various experiences in Benazir Bhutto’s life that shaped her as a leader.

From the film Bhutto

In this lesson, students will make personal connections with a family that has been traumatized and displaced by conflict in their homeland, the Democratic Republic of Congo, or DR Congo. Doing so will help put a human face on a far away and unimaginable conflict that is the deadliest since World War II. Students will then investigate various events in DR Congo’s history, determine the causes and impact of the war, and analyze the effects that war has had on women in particular. (includes 2 film modules)

From the film Pushing the Elephant

In this lesson, students will explore how storytelling can be a powerful way to illustrate how problems affect people and to inspire collective action that can bring about positive change. The class will first analyze the potential impact of the experiences described by Rose Mapendo, a woman whose family suffered severe hardships during violent conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Students will then gather and share a true story from their own community that explains the human impact of a local issue. (includes 1 film module)

From the film Pushing the Elephant

Students will be introduced to Brazilian visual artist Vik Muniz and the motivation behind his art project “Pictures of Garbage.” They will also meet some of the residents and works of the world’s largest landfill, located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They will explore the artist’s responsibility to the communities s/he represents.

From the film Waste Land

Students will consider the consequences for individuals and communities whose fundamental human rights are limited or denied, and develop a plan of action for improving the lives of women in their own community.

From the film Waste Land

Community Classroom 7

About this collection

Women and Girls Lead is a public media initiative that amplifies the voices of women and girls, expands understanding of gender equity, and engages a connected network of citizens and organizations to act locally and reach out globally. This curricula collection features content from three documentaries from the PBS series Independent Lens: Pushing the Elephant, Bhutto, and Waste Land. These inspiring personal stories range from gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to women’s rights in Pakistan, to power of art to change women's lives in the world's largest landfill in Brazil.

Subject areas: Social Studies, Environmental Studies, Global Studies, Civics, Economics, Government, Political Science, Peace Studies, Sociology, World History, Human Geography, Language Arts, Women’s Studies, Media Studies.