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Empowering Women and Girls

Years 9 & 10



n this lesson, students will explore the relationship between empowering women and girls and addressing climate change. First, students will view a video on the topic to build understanding and generate areas for further investigation.
Then students will participate in a scaffolded role-play, acting as community members to generate targeted solutions to gender inequality. Students will use real-world analytical tools to evaluate their ideas.

In this lesson, students explore the relationship between empowering women and girls and addressing climate change. First, students view a video on the topic to build understanding and generate areas for further investigation.
Then students participate in a scaffolded role-play, acting as community members to generate targeted solutions to gender inequality. Students will use real-world analytical tools to evaluate their ideas.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

Students learn skills associated with

  • assessing the merits of a proposed action 
  • presenting and defending a particular perspective


  • The issues addressed - gender inequality and climate change - are both critical issues. What makes the resource particularly unique is the recognition of the link between the two. 
  • The resource also benefits from its attention to student action with respect to supporting education for women and in providing students with a framework in which to assess the merits of any proposed action. 
  • In linking the resource to the 2040 video project, students are able to investigate the issue of gender and education within a larger context. 

Recommendation of how and where to use it

The resource may be used in those units of study that examine either social justice issues or climate change and is unique in that it links the two and thereby invites subject integration.

The resource may also be used in those ELA classes where the outcomes are related to speaking and listening.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Climate Change
  • Human Rights (1)

    • Gender Equality

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Satisfactory

The lesson is designed to help students understand the relationship between empowering girls and women and climate change. It further intends that students understand the role different community groups can play in creating solutions. It includes as its success criteria that students be able to synthesis sources to present their own viewpoint on the topic but the agenda is clearly set.

The lesson suggests that if girls in the developing world were better educated they would be less likely to marry early and have large families and this would place less pressure on the resources of the planet and check climate change. Reducing population thus becomes a strategy in the fight against climate change and the developing world becomes something of the battleground. There is merit in making these links but it ignores the fact that consumption or over-consumption is another major consideration and here the focus should be on the developed world.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Very Good

Establishing a link between the status of women and climate change requires that students investigate the social and economic consequences of gender inequality and how that inequality compromises our ability to deal with environmental issues such as climate change.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good

The link between educating girls and women and climate change is not an obvious one but the lesson does make the case by connecting a series of dots. Once acknowledged, students and others must struggle with how to increase the education level among girls and women and this adds considerable more complexity. The lesson tries to deal with this by having students participate in a simulation in which they take on the roles of various groups in a community who are charged with exploring how they can help support women's education.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Good

Students explore what various organizations in a community might do to improve education for girls and women and they evaluate their proposed solutions by completing a SWOT analysis in which they identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats with respect to their proposed solution. In a further role play, students debate how they might fund their solution.

The students may be expected to gain critical understandings about the challenges involved in planning an action but the lesson stops short of having the students act on that understanding.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Good

The examination of gender inequality raises questions about human rights and social justice issues and how communities and individuals should respond. 

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good

The lesson plan will broaden student understanding of the inequities faced by girls and women and may be expected to raise student concern for this reality.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Satisfactory

Although not a deliberate aim, the study of climate change may be expected to enhance the students appreciation of the natural world and the impact climate change will and is having on that world.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Satisfactory

The lesson plan examines and compares the inequities faced by women in various countries. The context, therefore, is global as it needs to be, but there is opportunity for students to compare the challenges faced by women in their region or country with others and thereby gain an enlarged perspective.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Good

Students investigate the current challenges faced by many women and are asked to apply the understanding gained so as to create a more equitable future

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good

The lesson is designed to make the case that improving educational opportunities for girls and women will help in the fight against climate change. The opportunity for debate comes with the simulation in which students discuss the role of the community in supporting women's education. The simulation allows for competing perspectives to make their case for action. There is further opportunity for the expression of competing perspectives as students evaluate the merits of various solutions. 

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good

An examination of the causes and consequences of gender imbalance requires that reference be made to the historical, social, cultural and economic factors at play and the effort to link this to climate change introduces environmental considerations. 

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good

The question addressed is to what extend gender inequity exists and how does this relate to combating climate change and what can be done about it. Students learn about the link between climate change and women's education by viewing and discussing a video. They explore what to do about it by engaging in a role - playing simulation in which they represent various community organizations and then weigh the merits of the various solutions proposed.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.


Differentiated Instruction Good

Students view videos  and explore what they have seen and heard through a "Think, See Wonder" exercise, record their understandings and perspective on worksheets provided, participate in a simulation, and use a SWOT analysis to assess the merits of proposed solutions. 

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Satisfactory

The lesson uses a simulation to help students explore what might be done at the community level to support women's education and use an analytical tool developed by organizations in the real world to assess the merits of the solutions that emerge from the simulation.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory

The Community Meeting - Role Play activity invokes students working in groups to explain the solution they have developed to improve education for women and girls and to defend their choice based upon their SWOT analysis of the proposed solutions.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Good

A number of the activities require student to complete worksheets that reflect their understanding/perspectives and these may be used for summative evaluation, while the class discussions and role playing activities allow for formative evaluations. 

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Good

The role playing that is part of the community simulation allow students to exchange and defend proposals to improve education for females.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Good

The video included with the resource provides some background about the reality faced by many women with respect to educational opportunities and the consequences thereof, while the role playing activity serves as an effective simulation in helping students understand the challenges faced by NGOs and others who are working to improve educational opportunities for  women.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Good

The activities are structured so that the learning emerges from student inquiry.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.