5 Awe-inspiring women for Women’s History Month

5 Awe-inspiring women for Women's History Month

It’s time to celebrate women’s history month – the entire month of March is used to recognize women and their contributions to history, and March 8 is international women’s day. There are many wonderful women to learn about, and I’ve written reading activities for level 2 and up French learners that can help with your lesson plans for the month. Some of these women were born in France while others chose to become French – all are inspiring or interesting to learn about, and each made a contribution to history that we can learn from.

Andrée Peel

5 Awe-inspiring women for Women's History Month

Andrée Peel was a heroine of the French resistance. She helped to guide allied planes to landing strips and assisted pilots who had been shot down in France to escape occupied territory. Before the war she ran a beauty salon. She was arrested and spent time in two different concentration camps. She almost died at Buchenwald – but the camp was liberated right before she was to be executed.

Nancy Wake

Nancy Wake was born in Australia, but moved to France in the 1930’s. When war broke out, she joined the French resistance and helped Allied pilots escape to Spain. She was almost caught by the Germans, but escaped. Her husband wasn’t so lucky, as he was captured and executed. She wasn’t done working to defeat the Nazis and returned to action not long after that. After the war she returned to Australia, later returning to England. She lived there until her death in 2011.

5 Awe-inspiring women for Women's History Month

Josephine Baker

5 Awe-inspiring women for Women's History Month

Josephine Baker was born in the United States but moved to France as a young woman. She had dealt with racism in America but found France to be much more open. She was loved for her talent and showmanship. She was active in resistance activities during the war. She adopted a dozen children from all over the world, which she called her “rainbow tribe.”

She did return to the US briefly and was active in the civil rights movement. She was recently interred in the Pantheon in Paris (well, some soil was symbolically interred there – her remains are still in Monaco) – the first Black woman to receive that honor. Her story is not only relevant for women’s history month, but also for Black history month.

Marie Curie

Marie Curie was born in Poland but moved to France so she could study chemistry and physics. She met her husband there and together they worked in a laboratory. When her husband was chosen to receive the Nobel Prize, he insisted that she also receive it. She later won a second Nobel Prize on her own. She discovered radiation and invented a portable x-ray machine that was used in the field during the first world war.

5 Awe-inspiring women for Women's History Month

Joan of Arc

5 Awe-inspiring women for Women's History Month

Your students may have heard of Joan of Arc, but they probably don’t know exactly why she is famous. She went from humble beginnings as a young girl in a small village to leading an army that helped to unify France and crown the king. Sadly, she was burnt at the stake when she was only 19. Your students will enjoy learning about her as she was their age when she became a heroine of France. There are two different activities for Joan of Arc – a CI lesson that is geared towards levels 1-2, and a reading that is for levels 2 and higher.

These are just a few of the amazing women you can read about for women’s history month – I have several others such as Joan of Arc, Eleanor of Aquitaine and medieval Queen Brunehaut. All are available in the Frenchified store as well as my TPT store. And if you can’t decide which one to get, there’s even a bundle with 13 different readings!

women's history month

Happy women’s history month!

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