Women Who Changed the World


Supporting points to be used with the CD

Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication – it passes on universal truths and engages people in a communal activity of listening, discussion and understanding.

This CD builds on that tradition to pass on the stories of 9 of the most important and influential women of our time from Florence Nightingale and Rosa Parks to Malala Yousafzai and Helen Keller.

Aimed at years 6 to 9, this is a hugely versatile resource that can be used to support subjects right across the curriculum, in particular Geography, History, Citizenship, PSHE and RE. The following guide provides guidance on:

  1. How the CD can be used in the classroom;
  2. Which story can be used in specific topic areas
  3. Key questions that you can use to stimulate debate.

How to use this CD

  • To provide further information on key women central to the syllabus e.g. Rosa Parks and Florence Nightingale;
  • To stimulate debate and discussion as part of PSHE;
  • Played as part of special focus weeks such as Anti Bullying week, Black History Month, Interfaith week, Women’s day, One World Week, Week of Prayer for World Peace;
  • Used as resource to support project work.

How the stories refer to specific topic areas
Wangari: Geography and ecology:  This story focuses on the environment, and mentions ecological subjects such as the causes of drought.
Florence Nightingale: Maths and history: Florence Nightingale helped popularise the pie chart – some even say that she invented it.  She was a great statistician and had to present her findings in a way that they could be grasped easily and clearly, she did this visually, in a pie chart (or ‘rose diagram’ as she called it). Her story also speaks of the conditions of the Crimean War.
Tahirih: PSHE: Her story highlights the oppression of women in the east. Many parallels could be drawn with Malala’s story. These are good stories to focus on why the education of girls is so important.
Rosa Parks: History and PSHE: This prompts discussion of race, history and equality as well as directly supporting the national curriculum. It is a vital story to be considered during Black History Month, given the pivota role Rosa Parks has played.
Mother Teresa: Citizenship and “One World Week”: Mother Teresa could speak Hindi, Bengali, Albanian and English. She helped people whatever their religion, culture or status. She was truly a ‘world citizen’.

Peace Pilgrim: PHSE and RE: A good story for peace studies, encouraging respect for the elderly, and Interfaith week.
Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan: PSHE: The story celebrates the art of teaching, also how a person who is faced with personal difficulties such as disability, can overcome them. It shows a very positive attitude towards disability.
Malala Yousafzai: PHSE and RE: Again, the importance of educating girls is highlighted here. In addition, as Malala was so young when she started to campaign for the right of girls to be educated, she is a great role model and empowerment figure for young people. It could be used to discuss different attitudes to how boys and girls are treated around the world.
Takako: Law and Politics: Takako’s story speaks about Japan’s peace constitution, which is being challenged by article 9. It is also a story about someone who is not ‘famous’ but who took small steps to take action for the things she believed in. It encourages all of us to look at what we feel is important and to take action.


Questions to stimulate debate

  • What is a calling in life, and is it important to follow it?
  • What is the difference between a hero and an idol?
  • Is it possible to facilitate change through peaceful means? If so, why are countries still using war as a tool?
  • What capacities do you value in others and in yourself?
  • What causes are you interested in and what small steps can you take to further this interest?
  • Should boys and girls be given equal opportunities? Should a worldwide compulsory education of children be in place?
  • Who do you admire and why?
  • How important is it to find a role in life that serves others?