Frequently Asked questions
Why do the women in the NWHS database deserve recognition alongside men that were presidents, war heroes, and influential businessmen - people that did the “heavy lifting” in building the nation?
The women that NWHS selects to include in its database have done things that have a tangible impact on the formation and continuation of the United States. Just like men, some contributions are large, some are small, and some have ripple effects that echo through time. In the history textbooks that are in use today, characters are included for many different reasons, and women contributors are often not included where they should be or their contributions are falsely attributed to men. It is a tragedy and a disgrace that women are not afforded their rightful place in our nation’s historical memory.
U.S. history is bloated as it is. Why add more to it?
Educators understand that there are many problems associated with the way we teach history, and NWHS cannot address all of those problems. However, we can do our part in alleviating two issues that we see as being most pressing. First, there is a documented lack of representation for women in U.S. history. NWHS can help to balance the scales by offering a database to schools that will demonstrate the lack of representation, include influential women in history curriculums, and develop a system that makes it simple for teachers to incorporate women into their lesson plans. Studies show that the way history is taught now does not engage students and it does not usually speak to things that interest or matter to them. By building this interactive database, NWHS hopes to not only teach students a more complete and accurate history of the United States, but also to show them why history matters and how it can be interesting.
What is the fundamental value of history anyway, whether complete or abridged?
If people are always planning for the future, it seems counterintuitive to think too much about the past. Yet historians have always been necessary in society, and for good reason. History provides us with knowledge of where we came from and what has influenced our society and morality. We learn from the dilemmas that our people have faced in the past, and we learn from their mistakes. History can teach us good citizenship- whether that includes shaping our ideals, or learning from the past to make the country better in the future. Most importantly, history is the story of us and the repetition of history lessons becomes deeply rooted in each of us, coloring the way we see ourselves and the world around us. History provides us with identity, and that is a profoundly significant power. Early education centering around one woman that achieved great things can be all it takes to convince a generation of girls that they are capable of equally impressive feats.