Teaching Women’s History in French class

Teaching women's history in French class

Teaching women’s history in French class can be an interesting and fulfilling opportunity – many times our students aren’t aware of the contribution of women to French history, or even their own nation’s history. 

March being Women’s History Month, it’s a good time to look at some of the role models and examples that women of the past have given us. French history is full of strong women – queens, leaders, scientists.  While many countries did not view women as having a say in political affairs, there are plenty of women in French history who were able to control their own destinies as well as those of their people. 

Joan of Arc comes to mind immediately – not only was she the symbol of a unified France, she lead the army alongside the strongest male warriors of her day.  While her story has a tragic ending, her example of standing up for herself and her beliefs is still worth examining. 

Marie Curie may not have been French by birth, but she made her home in France after she was unable to pursue her dreams in her native Poland.  Her work paid off by earning not one, but two Nobel prizes.  She is now remembered for her intellect and her discoveries in chemistry and physics. 

Others, such as Josephine Baker and Nina Simone, moved to France as well because they were unable to get the respect and freedom in the United States. Frenchified has several readings about these and other women that you might be interested in using for your classes. 

Here are some suggestions for teaching women’s history in French class:

Joan of Arc – available in PDF, Google Drive, and Boom Card versions.  Also available: CI lesson for beginning French.

Marie Curie – available in PDF and Google Drive versions.

Jeanne de Clisson – a pirate who avenged the murder of her husband.  Available in PDF, Google Drive, HTML5 and Boom Card versions.

Edith Piaf – available in HTML5, Boom Card and PDF versions.

Nina Simone – not French by birth, but moved there  Available in PDF, Google Drive, HTML5 and Boom Card versions.

Josephine Baker – American by birth, French by choice.  Available in PDF.

Marie Antoinette – Available in PDF.

Andrée Peel – heroine of the Resistance during WW2.  Available in PDF.

Nancy Wake – born in Britain, heroine of the resistance movement in France.  Available in PDF.

Princess Grace – American movie star, later became princess of Monaco.  Available in PDF.

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