Running As A Woman
Trustee: Annette Strauss
Subject: Civic Education, Government
Topic: Campaigns & Elections
Grade Level: 10-12
Time: 65-75 minutes
View how this plan fits state standards
View Annette Strauss' video or read the transcript
Computer with internet access, external speakers, and a LCD projector OR access
to a computer lab with Internet access and headphones for each student
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Student Worksheet (MS Word, PDF)
Download Lesson Plans: (MS Word, PDF)
1. evaluate effectiveness of campaign materials;
2. appraise women’s presence in politics; and
3. practice debate skills.
PRE-VIEWING (15-20 minutes)
1. By show of hands, ask the students if their typical politician is a man or a woman.
Take a tally to see which gender prevailed.
2. Discuss why somebody of the opposite gender was less likely to come to mind. As a
class, discuss the consequences of associating politics with a single gender. Ask
students about their perception of female presence in politics.
Do women go into politics?
At what level, do women enter politics?
3. Tell the class that they are going to check their perceptions shortly. Distribute the
WORKSHEET and ask the students to work individually. After 2-3 minutes, read the
correct answers aloud. See if anybody answered all of the questions correctly. Answers:
1A (1933, Frances Perkins); 2C; 3B (Nancy Pelosi); 4B; 5B (Washington), 6A.
4. Put the following questions on the board for the class to discuss:
Does female participation in politics matter? Why or why not?
What might women bring to politics that differs from men?
What prevents women from being more visible in politics?
5. After a brief discussion, introduce the short documentary about Annette Strauss, the
first female mayor of Dallas. Instruct students to think about additional answer to the
questions above as they watch the video.
VIEWING & DISCUSSION (15 minutes)
1. As a class, watch the brief Annette Strauss video, which can be accessed online at
www.americantrusteesproject.org. Debrief by discussing the questions on the
2. Ask students if they were able to identify Annette Strauss’ campaign ads. If they were
unable to identify them you may show them the commercials again. You can fast
forward or click ahead to 1:59 to view the first commercial and 2:37 to view the second.
Ask the students if they find the ads effective and why or why not?
NOTE: Since Annette won the race, the commercials obviously worked.
3. Are the themes of the advertisements from 1987 still of concern today? Encourage
students to think about whether or not the concerns the ads are still present? Would
those ads work today? Would young people respond to such ads today? Why or why
APPLICATION (35-40 minutes)
1. Ask students to think of a campaign ad that stands out in their memory. Do they
remember the candidate that used it in his/her campaign? Did s/he win? Invite students
to share their memories and impressions. If students are having a hard time thinking of
campaign ads, allow them to use the internet to find ads to share with the class.
2. Write the following question on the board:
Should a female political candidate use her gender to help her political
3. Divide students into two teams FOR & AGAINST. Give each team 10-15 minutes to
prepare their argument and facilitate the debate.
NOTE: Depending on a number of students in class, it may be reasonable to have
several teams working on supporting arguments and several others on opposing ones.
1. Ask students to identify a current campaign in which one of the candidates is a
woman. You may instruct them to look at http://www.emilyslist.org/index.html and
http://www.thewishlist.org/ as a simple way to identify political races with female
2. Divide the class in small groups of 3-4 to locate the campaign materials and evaluate
their effectiveness. Do they think the advertisement, TV spots, etc. are compelling
enough for voters to support a female candidate? How can the campaign be improved?
3. Ask students to bring their materials to class and a) demonstrate why the commercial
is or is not effective and b) how it could be improved.
Students may be assessed on:
1. identifying and analyzing campaign materials; and
2. argumentation and debate skills.