Suffragettes and Iron Ladies - Lesson Lesson Plan

Level: Grades 10 to 12

Duration: 2 hours (without extension activities)

Author: Matthew Johnson, Director of Education, MediaSmarts


This lesson considers how the media portrays women in politics. Students explore capsule biographies of female political leaders, from ancient times to current events – crafted from snippets of media coverage such as newspapers, magazines, TV news and encyclopedias – to understand bias in how female politicians are portrayed. Based on this, the class prepares a “portrait of a female politician” – a catalogue of the negative attributes frequently ascribed to women in politics by the media. Looking at this portrait, students are asked to consider which of these would be considered positive or neutral attributes if they were found in a male politician, and discuss how coverage of women in politics could be made less biased. Finally, students are asked to write a biography and position paper for themselves which casts them in a positive and politically active light.

Other lesson in this series: The Girl in the Mirror

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Understand and identify bias
  • Analyze gender stereotypes
  • Use connotation in writing
  • Think of themselves as political agents

This lesson and all associated documents (handouts, overheads, backgrounders) are available in an easy-print, pdf kit version.

Lesson Kit