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Having a Say - Suffrage Citizenship Lessons

The 'Having a Say' Citizenship resources have been developed by ACT with support from the Historical Association, the Cabinet Office and the Government Equalities Office. They form part of a wider set of history and Citizenship resources to celebrate 100 years of votes for women.

The new materials are designed to inspire and engage students in democracy, as well as help them to explore issues of suffrage and equality through historical and contemporary campaigning. The Citizenship lessons and teaching ideas address key questions: Is there inequality today and how can we change things? What makes a change maker successful? How can we take action?

The resources include:

  • six units with teaching ideas for Citizenship lessons, workshops and assemblies
  • case studies of contemporary campaigners including teenage activists, business people, lawyers and parliamentarians 
  • student resources and activities to encourage active, democratic citizenship
  • film footage of students from Hamilton Academy in Leicstershire interviewing Baroness Garden of Frognall about equality and citizenship, to exemplify how pupils can use structured inteviews to illicit understanding and learn from change makers today.

The six units include:

Unit 1
What political changes have happened for women during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries?

  • What is equality?
  • How women got the vote.
  • Gender equality since 1928.
  • Suffrage today.

Unit 2
If there is still inequality today, how can we change this?

  • What’s happening today?
  • Modern forms of protest.
  • A modern-day change-maker.
  • Comparing campaigns.

Unit 3
How can local people change things?

  • Roles of MPs, local councillors and citizens in local change.
  • Who can help to make change?
  • Students researching a local change-maker.

Unit 4
Who is the greatest change-maker?

Students take part in a 'Balloon debate' to argue their case for why a particular change maker they have reseached is the greatest. They explore:

  • Why is your change-maker the greatest?
  • What have they done to achieve change?
  • Why is this significant today?
  • How is their work relevant to young people and other citizens today?

Unit 5
What makes a change-maker successful?

  • Using a structure interviewing with a change-maker students find out first hand about the work of a local campaigner
  • Choosing your interviewee.
  • Preparing for the interview.

Unit 6
How will we take democratic action?

  • Planning and taking action.
  • Teachers can use the ACTive Citizenship Award Scheme toolkit to support students in taking their own democratic actions.

Student resources and case studies

Student resources are included with each unit. These include case studies of contemporary campaigners and provide key information about the campaigner and their work, as well as questions to explore. A vocabulary list of key terms supports students in accessing the source and developing knowledge about key concepts and terms.

  1. Caroline Criado-Perez, who campaigns for womens equality including getting the first statutue of a women, Millicent Fawcett in parliament square in London.
  2. Amika George, who launched a campaign for free sanitary products for schoolgirls from low-income families.
  3. Muna Hassan, who campaigns to raise awareness of the risk of FGM to girls in the UK.
  4. Helena Morrissey, who set up the 30% Club to campaign for at least one-third representation of women on FTSE 100 company boards.
  5. Funke Abimbola, a senior lawyer who campaigns for greater racial, gender and social diversity in the legal profession and business.
  6. Stella Creasy, a politician who has championed women’s equality along with other issues such as the improvement of sex and relationships education.
  7. Maria Miller, a politician who has campaigned for increased female representation in Parliament, LGBT rights and combatting all forms of harassment including online abuse.

All the materials have been designed flexibly and can be adapted for use in assemblies and workshops as well as Citizenship lessons.

Our special thanks go to Val Pumfrey, Zoe Bowden and Ryan Mason for their work in developing these resources.

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