Grades 6-8 Summit Learning

Gender Roles & Empowerment

This inquiry leads students through an investigation that assesses the extent to which gender roles empower or limit the agency of women. In doing so, it provides students with the opportunity to explore how women, specifically Latina and Black women, have utilized various ways to push against social norms and to expand what is considered acceptable for females to achieve in American society. Gender intersects with race in many important ways, therefore this inquiry intentionally focuses on the experiences of Latina and Black women. This is not to say that women of other racial groups do not experience similar social pressures. Rather, this inquiry is attempting to provide a more in-depth perspective for traditionally marginalized female voices. 


Compelling Question:

Do Gender Roles Empower or Limit Women?

Staging the Question:

Participate in a class discussion on the differences between “boy” and “girl” children’s toys after viewing a video.

Supporting Question How is power traditionally connected to gender?

Formative Task Create a mind map/web that depicts how power is connected to gender.

Sources Source A: “Power”
Source B: “The Emergence of ‘Women’s’ Sphere’”
Source C: “The Woman of La Raza”


Supporting Question How have individual women challenged gender roles?

Formative Task Write a paragraph that describes how individual women have challenged gender roles.

Sources Source A: “Answer by the Poet…”
Source B: “Fannie Lou Hamer’s Powerful Testimony”
Source C: “Alicia Garza on the Beauty and Burden of Black Lives Matter”


Supporting Question How are gender expectations changing for women?

Formative Task Write an evidence-based claim and counterclaim that describe how gender expectations are changing for women.

Sources Source A: “Testimonios”
Source B: “Latino Attitudes about Women and Society”
Source C: “I’ve Long Feared Being Labeled ‘An Angry Black Woman’”

Summative Performance Task

Argument: Do gender roles empower or limit women? Construct an argument (e.g., detailed outline, poster, essay) that answers the compelling question using specific claims and relevant evidence from sources while acknowledging competing views.
Extension: Create a graphic illustration or series of illustrations depicting a specific way that gender expectations can empower or limit the choices and actions of female students.

Taking Informed Action

Understand: Research a school policy or rule (e.g., dress code enforcement, discipline practices, cell phone use) that may disproportionately affect female students.
Assess: Evaluate the extent to which the school policy affects female students differently than male students.
Act: Write a letter or email to a school administrator, or give a speech/presentation to the school board that explains the ways in which the school policy may be harmful to female students.