Learn About & Celebrate Women’s History in March and Beyond!

Mountain Lake PBS is proud to celebrate Women’s History this March and all year round!

March is Women’s History Month. Started in 1978 as a week-long celebration in California, Women’s History Month has developed into a nationwide, month-long recognition of women’s historic and contemporary contributions to society. Today, we continue this tradition by expanding our understanding of the key role women have played in shaping the culture of the United States and beyond.

Continue below to learn about diverse contributions by women to history, politics, science, art, and more with resources for all ages and a full lineup of programs in our weekday Watch & Wonder block.

Jump to article sections:

Women’s History & Contributions: Now and Then

UNC-TV’s GIRL Power! Collection

Grades K-5
UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina’s GIRL Power! is shining a light on girls of ALL ages who lead, mentor, inspire and impact those around them by tapping into their unique strengths. Check out this collection of their stories!

Unladylike2020 Collection

Grades 6-12
 honors the centennial of women’s suffrage. This collection of digital resources presents the rich history of 26 little-known Progressive Era women, diverse in profession, race, ethnicity, geographical and class backgrounds, sexual orientation and gender expression, who broke barriers in then-male-dominated fields such as science, business, journalism, exploration, and the arts. Touching on topics such as the labor movement, immigration, politics, civil rights, and women’s suffrage, these resources develop students’ historical thinking skills and help them make connections between past and present.

Women in STEM | The Secret Life of Scientists & Engineers

Grades 6-12
Learn about contemporary women scientists in the fields of aerospace, mechanical engineering, climate science, molecular biology, astronomy and more with this collection of video interviews from NOVA’s The Secret Life of Scientists & Engineers.

Trailblazer Bio Cards: Arts and Sciences

Grades 6-12
Use this media gallery and support materials to celebrate extraordinary trailblazing women, past and present, including filmmaker Ava Duvernay, actress Mae West, scientist Emily Graslie, and more with your students.

Famous Feminists, Leaders & Visionaries

Maya Angelou Reader | Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum

Grades K-2
Learn about Maya Angelou, poet, author, and civil rights activist, with this printable biosketch reader and classroom activities.

Anne LaBastille: Ecologist, Author, Trailblazer | People Near Here

Grades 3-12
Examine the life of wildlife ecologist, guide, and author Anne LaBastille. Learn about Anne LaBastille’s commitment to conservation and the environment as evidenced by her solitary life in a remote corner of the Adirondack mountains of New York State. LaBastille documented the challenges of living alone in the wilderness and the effects of climate change on her beloved Adirondack Park in a series of books, articles, and scientific papers, inspiring countless readers with tales of her rugged, pioneering lifestyle.

Inez Milholland: Suffrage Movement Icon

Grades 6-12
Examine the life of suffragist, labor lawyer, activist, and public speaker Inez Milholland. Learn about Inez Milholland’s commitment to earning women the right to vote and her concern for social justice reforms of the day including striking laborers, tenant’s rights, and prison reform. Milholland became an icon for the suffrage movement after she led the Women’s Suffrage Procession up Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, wearing a long cape and riding a white horse, on the eve of President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration. 

Equal Pay in Sports: Billie Jean King’s Lasting Legacy | Groundbreakers

Grades 6-12
Examine how Billie Jean King shaped perceptions of gender roles in athletics and influences the ongoing fight for equal pay in athletes today in this video from Groundbreakers. Using video, discussion questions, and teaching tips, explore how King advocated for equal compensation in sports, the significance of the Battle of the Sexes, and the ways female athletes today work to ensure equal pay for themselves.

Elizebeth Friedman: How a Female Codebreaker Defeated Nazi Spies | The Codebreaker

Grades 9-12
Discover the untold story of Elizebeth Friedman, an American female cryptanalyst whose astonishing codebreaking abilities helped thwart Nazi spies in World War II—but whose achievements went unrecognized in her lifetime—in these clips adapted from The Codebreaker|AMERICAN EXPERIENCE.

Activities, Books & More

Children’s Books About Amazing Women

Grades PreK-3
Have you ever thought that one person can change an entire country and save hundreds of lives? Celebrate some of the amazing women who have affected more lives than they could have imagined, all on the pages of these books for kids aged 2-8!

How to Raise Strong Girls

Grades PreK-4
When girls get the message that they have the ability to work through difficulty and learn new things, they stop giving up and start finding their way through their struggles. Try, “I’m working on this” to help your daughter remember that learning takes time.

Marie Curie | Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum

Grades K-2
Learn about award winning scientist Marie Curie with this video clip, printable biosketch reader, and support materials from Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum. Take the learning even further with this printable Matching Game to help Marie Curie match the similar bottles!

“Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History” Lesson Plan

Grades 9-12
Use this PBS NewsHour Classroom lesson to challenge students’ negative stereotypes towards women and give them the opportunity to use their creative writing skills to produce their own profile on another “rule-breaking” woman in history.

Watch & Wonder Programming

In March, check out the Mountain Lake PBS Watch & Wonder block for special Women’s History Month programming! Join us as we celebrate and learn about the important contributions made by women throughout history and today.

Monday,March 4

1 PM: NOVA: Picture a Scientist

Women make up less than a quarter of STEM professionals in the United States, and numbers are even lower for women of color. But there is a growing group of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists, exposing longstanding discrimination, and leading the way in making science more inclusive. In Picture a Scientist, a biologist, a chemist, and a geologist lead viewers on a journey through their own experiences in the sciences, ranging from outright harassment to years of subtle slights. Along the way, from cramped laboratories to spectacular field stations, scientific visionaries, including social scientists, neuroscientists, and psychologists, provide new perspectives on how to make science itself more diverse, equitable, and open to all.

Tuesday,March 12

1 PM: Revolution of the Heart: The Dorothy Day Story

Follow Dorothy Day’s journey from a young communist journalist, to a Catholic convert, to the co-founder of The Catholic Worker newspaper and the first “houses of hospitality,” which sheltered New York City’s homeless during the Great Depression. The documentary uses extensive archival footage from Day’s own collection and interviews with actor Martin Sheen, public theologian Cornel West, Day’s granddaughters and more.

2 PM: Kasturba Gandhi: Accidental Activist

Kasturba Gandhi lived her life in the shadows of her iconic husband, Mahatma Gandhi. Now she emerges. Kasturba Gandhi: Accidental Activist tells that untold story of how she became one of the first women activists in modern history, impacting the growing number of women activists today.

Wednesday,March 13

1 PM: Secrets of the Surface: The Mathematical Vision of Maryam Mirzakhani

Filmed in Canada, Iran, and the United States, Secrets of the Surface: The Mathematical Vision of Maryam Mirzakhani examines the life and mathematical work of Maryam Mirzakhani, an Iranian immigrant to the United States who became a superstar in her field. In 2014, she was both the first woman and the first Iranian to be honored by mathematics’ highest prize, the Fields Medal.

2 PM: Julia Robinson and Hilbert’s Tenth Problem

Julia Robinson and Hilbert’s Tenth Problem presents the inspiring life story of the pioneering American mathematician Julia Robinson (1919-1985) and charts her major contribution to solving one of the 20th century’s most vexing mathematical questions — Hilbert’s Tenth. The documentary is pieced together by a wide array of archival footage, stills and recordings, recollections from other mathematicians — including the three others responsible for solving H10 — and warm reminiscences by her sister/biographer, Constance Reid.

Friday, March 15

1 PM: Composer: Amy Beach

Amy Cheney Beach was one of the most respected and accomplished American composers of her time. Throughout her career, she wrote hymns, chamber music, a mass, a piano concerto, an opera, and a robust collection of more than 150 songs. A pioneering composer, pianist and teacher, Beach was a national symbol of women’s creative power and helped redefine the role of women in music.

2 PM: Great Performances | Now Hear This “Amy Beach: Rise to Prominence”

Host Scott Yoo and his wife, flutist Alice Dade, perform the work of Romantic era classical composer Amy Beach at Festival Mosaic and uncover Beach’s many musical influences. Featuring performances of Beach’s works, the duo visits places Beach took inspiration from throughout her life, including an artist residency at MacDowell in New Hampshire, where she wrote “Hermit Thrush at Morn,” “Hermit Thrush at Evening” and more. Along the way, Yoo and Dade also explore the works of European female composers and musicians Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn and Louise Farrenc, and even stop to discover the music in the vineyards of California.

Tuesday,March 19

2 PM: American Experience | The Sun Queen

Scientist Mária Telkes dedicated her career to harnessing the power of the sun. Though undercut and thwarted by her male colleagues, she persevered to design the first successfully solar-heated house in 1948 and held more than 20 patents.

Wednesday, March 20

1 PM: Chicago Stories: Jane Addams: Together We Rise

Jane Addams, born into wealth and privilege, had been intrigued by social reform since a visit to a settlement house in London’s impoverished East End. An inheritance made it possible for her to bring that concept to Chicago with the creation of Hull House.

2 PM: In Their Own Words | Queen Elizabeth II

Follow Queen Elizabeth II’s remarkable life, from her youth to her uncle’s abdication, her father’s coronation as King George VI, her experience during World War II, her sudden ascension to the throne and her eventful reign of more than 60 years.

Thursday,March 21

1 PM: Ida B. Wells: American Stories

There are few historical figures whose life and work speak to the current moment more than Ida B. Wells, the 19th century crusading investigative journalist, civil rights leader, and passionate suffragist.

2 PM: In Their Own Words | Princess Diana

Meet those closest to Princess Diana and follow her story as she grew from a shy, aristocratic schoolgirl into a dynamic force for change. This is a journey from the inside of her life, and the story of a woman who defied expectations and evolved into one of the most impactful icons of our time.

Wednesday,March 27

1 PM: Without Precedent: The Supreme Life of Rosalie Abella

“Without Precedent: The Supreme Life of Rosalie Abella” is a 90-minute documentary that explores the life and legacy of the legal icon. The child of Holocaust survivors, Justice Abella was born in 1946 in Stuttgart, Germany, in a displaced persons camp. Her family came to Canada in 1950 as refugees. The perspective gained from her personal history shaped her legal career and in public speeches, she often intertwines her personal story with a discussion of human rights, morality and constitutional law.

2:30 PM: Penny: Champion of the Marginalized

“Penny: Champion of the Marginalized” is a multi-dimensional portrait of Penny Cooper, a celebrated criminal defense attorney, art collector, supporter of female artists, and protector of the underdog. Cooper’s life brims with stories mirroring the profound changes in our country from the 1940s to the present. The film is a collection of these moments as told by Cooper and the people who have been impacted by her dynamic spirit. The talented lawyer and art enthusiast offers a unique perspective on important social narratives such as criminal justice, the artists and collectors who generate today’s global contemporary art market, gender equality, and more.