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Printable Page Rwanda: You Go, Girls! by Margaret Fay
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students
Learning Objectives Learning Objectives    Standards Standards    Media Components Media Components    Materials Materials    Prep for Teachers Prep for Teachers


TIME ALLOTMENT: Two to three class periods

The PBS WIDE ANGLE documentary series analyzes a number of significant and current global issues. In "Ladies First" (2004), WIDE ANGLE delivers a riveting report on the political and socio-economic success of the Rwandan women after the genocide of 1994 that divided the country's major ethnic groups, the Tutsi and the Hutu.

The purpose of this lesson is to use "Ladies First" to show not only that women working together can and did create a dialogue and a basis for trust among ethnic groups, but also to show how these same women are challenging their traditional role in Rwandan society and assuming unprecedented leadership.

Although the basis of the lesson is the success of women in Rwanda post-genocide, the lesson begins with a clip from the movie HOTEL RWANDA, which establishes the devastating brutality of 1994 that left the country in utter ruin.

As a Culminating Activity, students will use various Web sites to hone skills needed for the Global Studies Regents Exam, including: analyzing statistical, economic, and demographic information; a map exercise; and the interpretation of a primary document.

SUBJECT MATTER: Global History and Geography/World History


Students will be able to:
  • Define "genocide;"

  • Identify the challenges a nation faces after experiencing genocide;

  • Describe ways in which Rwandan women are assuming leadership in their country;

  • Appreciate the influence of tradition in the shifting roles of Rwandan women;

  • Draw conclusions from statistical and demographic data;

  • Synthesize primary source information.

New York State Learning Standards for Social Studies
Standards available online at http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/ciai/socst/pub/sslearn.pdf.

    Standard 2. World History (commencement)
    Performance Indicators:

      1. Students:

      • Define culture and civilization, explaining how they developed and changed over time. Investigate the various components of cultures and civilizations including social customs, norms, values, and traditions; political systems; economic systems; religions and spiritual beliefs; and socialization or educational practices.

      3. Students:

      • Explain the dynamics of cultural change and how interactions between and among cultures has affected various cultural groups throughout the world.

      • Examine the social/cultural, political, economic, and religious norms and values of Western and other world cultures.

    Standard 4. Economics (commencement)
    Performance Indicators:

      1. Students:

      • Analyze the effectiveness of varying ways societies, nations, and regions of the world attempt to satisfy their basic needs and wants by utilizing scarce resources.

      2. Students:

      • Identify, locate, and evaluate economic information from standard reference works, newspapers, periodicals, computer databases, monographs, textbooks, government publications, and other primary and secondary sources.

      • Use economic information by identifying similarities and differences in trends; inferring relationships between various elements of an economy: organizing and arranging information in charts, tables, and graphs; extrapolating and making conclusions about economic questions, issues, and problems.

New York State Regents Global History and Geography Curriculum Tie-Ins
Curriculum available online at http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/ciai/socst/pub/sscore2.pdf

    Unit Seven: The 20th Century since l945

      3. African independence movements and Pan Africanism

        g. Ethnic tensions: Rwanda -- Hutu-Tutsi

    Unit Eight: Global Connections and Interactions

      2. Social and Political Patterns and Change

      4. Modernization/tradition -- finding a balance

        c. African

      7. Status of women and children

        a. Economic issues

        b. Social issues

        c. Political issues

      8. Ethnic and religious tensions: an analysis of multiple perspectives

Advanced Placement World History Curriculum Tie-Ins
Course Description available online at:
(Requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader)

    Major Developments:

      3. New patterns of nationalism (racism, genocide)

      6. Social reform and social revolution (changing gender roles; rise of feminism)

    Major Comparisons and Snapshots

    • Compare patterns and results of decolonization in African and India.

    • Compare legacies of colonialism and patterns of economic development in two of three areas (Africa, Asia, and Latin America).

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WIDE ANGLE, "Ladies First" (2004) (selected clips)

Breaking Ground
Photo of a woman in Rwanda.
70% Female
Photo of women in the Rwandan Legislature.
Photo of a person praying.
Small Business
Photo of a farm in Rwanda.
Women in Parli.
Photo of a Rwandan woman in the national legislature.

Web Sites:

    This site provides a trailer to the movie about the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 that is used in the introduction of this lesson.

  • Human Development Reports
    This site is commissioned by the United Nations Development Progamme and provides extensive information (economic, educational, demography, geographic) on 120 countries.

  • PeaceWomen's "Women, Peace, and Security: Rwanda"
    This site provides quotations from two Rwandan women discussing the role of women in rebuilding Rwanda.


For the class:

For each cooperative group of students:

For each student:


Prior to teaching this lesson, you will need to:

Bookmark the Web sites used in the lesson on each computer in your classroom, or upload all links to an online bookmarking utility such as www.portaportal.com.

Preview all of the video clips and Web sites used in the lesson to make certain that they are appropriate for your students, currently available, and accessible from your classroom.

Download the video clips used in this lesson onto your hard drive, or prepare to stream the clips from your classroom. RealPlayer is needed to view the video clips. If your classroom computer does not have it, download RealPlayer for free at www.real.com.

Prepare your projector and/or TV with internet connection (if available) to display the HOTEL RWANDA trailer for the class.

Copy the student organizers for individual and group use.

When using media, provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, a specific task to complete and/or information to identify during or after viewing of video segments, Web sites, or other multimedia elements.

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