Jump to content
The Education Forum

Europe's Other Half: Women in the 20th Century

John Simkin

Recommended Posts

I have added my contribution here:


I have put it here as all visitors to the Forum can see it in this section. You will notice I have not restricted myself to the 20th century. I felt it was better to go back to the origins of the struggle for universal suffrage. I will be interested to see if other countries also had an early start.

I have also arranged for the team to add illustrations to the text. Please PM me if you need help with this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 37
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I think it's helfpul to trace things back before C20th. Teacher subject knowledge is important as well as resources for pupils. Did you see Gemaine Greer prog. yesterday on feminism, and (complete non sequitur), have you read 'A month in the country' by J.L. Carr?

I have moved this here as I wanted the other thread to only include our work on the project.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
Hi - I've been pondering the best way forward on the 'women's history' topic, and especially the oral/social history, rather than the political history. Perhaps if we can agree a kind of template for interviewing women about their experiences, that we could all use, so we are working in a similar way.

I have been thinking further about this idea of template, perticularly from a practical and use of dv camera perspective. Came across this excellent advice sheet for doing oral history on the US History Channel site.

Preparing for the Interview

Background Reading: What have you found out about your interview


“Just the Facts”: Taking Notes

After doing some background reading, one of the best ways to begin

sorting through the information that you have just learned about

your focus topic is to fill in answers for the five “w’s:” who, what,

when, where and why. Start by writing your focus topic in the title

box at the top of the page. Then, write, in your own words, quick

notes that answer the five “w” questions listed down the side of the

page. Most likely, you will find a lot of information about your focus

topic in books, movies, and on the Internet. It is up to you to sift

through the information and choose those facts that will help you the

most to prepare for your interview. Remember that the goal of this

exercise is to help you come up with the most useful questions to ask

your interview subject.

Note-taking Example:

Title: Sit-in Movement of the 1960s

Who? Started by college students across the country, the sit-in

movement later was coordinated by SNCC (the Student Nonviolent

Coordinating Committee).

What? An act of civil disobedience by African Americans who sat

down at segregated lunch counters and refused to leave until they

had been given service.

When? The sit-in movement began in February, 1960.

Where? Started at a Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, North

Carolina, but quickly spread across the southern United States.

Why? To gain equal treatment for African Americans at lunch

counters and other establishments that refused to serve customers

on account of their race.

Writing Interview Questions

Memory Questions:

After you have decided on a focus topic and done some background

reading, you should carefully consider and write down the questions

that you plan to use in your interview, using your own worksheet or

the one provided with this manual. Your interview should begin with

several memory questions. First, memory questions should help relax

your subject and get them in a mood to reminisce. Second, these

questions will help you gather information about your subject’s

personal experiences.

Note that your topic and questions will be shaped by the subject(s)

you choose to interview. You will get the best answers if you ask your

interview subject to talk about his or her own experiences, so

encourage your interviewee to provide personal stories, sad and

funny memories that you will not find in the standard school books.

Your Job is to Record and Interpret History

· Write and ask good questions.

· Get good stories that are told in an interesting way.

· Examine and understand the different beliefs, interests, hopes and fears in follow up questions.

· Evaluate your evidence to make conclusions.

Writing Additional Questions

In order to learn as much as possible from the interview experience

you should write several questions that will encourage your subject

to expand and explain their feelings and ideas. The second stage of

questions should encourage your subject to dig deeper into the

stories to explain why things happened and how they relate to other


Below are some basic questions to help you get started. Use your

own worksheet, or the one provided, to write your own complete


Explanation Questions

· What caused this event...?

· Why did this happen...?

· What happened next...?

· Can you describe the scene in one word...?

· Can you compare two events...?

· Explain the reason for...?

· What conclusion can you draw...?

· What is your point of view about...?

· Can you describe the scene...?

· Can you explain a photograph...?

Judgment Questions

The last group of questions should offer your subject a chance to

talk about the “big picture” by telling about what was good or bad,

important or less important. These questions should be asked last

because they allow the interview subject a chance to sum up and

make conclusions. Remember that this is your subject’s opportunity

to give his or her own opinion—you may or may not agree with the


Judgment Questions

· What was the happiest (funniest or saddest) memory?

· What was your biggest accomplishment?

· What actions would you change if you had a chance to re-live those

years again?

· What mistakes did people make during this period or event in history?

· What should people today remember about this time/event?



Even with your best efforts some people may need some extra

questions to encourage them to tell the full story.

Don’t be afraid to ask for details or explanations.

Back up Questions:

Why was this important?

How did the story begin or end?

What else do you want to tell me about this?

What important question did I forget to ask you?

Interview Tips

Proper Attire

You want your interview subjects to relax and tell their best

stories. Your clothing should not distract your subject from

the purpose of the interview. You should be neatly dressed in

comfortable clothes.


If you are not familiar with audio- or videotape recorders, you

should make a practice tape at home.

Set Up

If you are videotaping your interview, the camera will be set up on a

tripod. Put the camera as close to the interview subject as possible.

If you have a camera operator ask him or her to keep the camera as

still as possible. Use the zoom button only when a close-up seems to

help the audience understand the story being told. (Do not put the

camera more than ten feet from the subject unless you have a

special microphone that is attached to a jack.)

Identify the Tape

Whether you use an audio- or videotape, you want to be sure to

identify your project.

Speaking clearly, say, “My name is

__________________ and, I am interviewing

________________________ on the topic

of____________________. The time is_____a.m./p.m. and the

date is _____________________.”

Conducting the Interview

Let your interview subject know that this is an important project and

that you are very interested in his or her personal experiences.

Treat the interview as serious work. Ask each question from your

list and wait respectfully for an answer. (Don’t be afraid of silence!

Sometimes it may take your subject a moment or two to compose an

answer.) Look directly at the person who is giving the interview.

Nod and smile to show that you are listening and understand the

story. If you don’t understand, ask a follow up question.

Remember this probably will be your only chance to get these stories

on tape.

Interview Skill:

Active Listening

If you find that your interview subject needs to be assured that you

are listening and understand his or her story, try to paraphrase

(repeat in your own words) an important part of the interview. This

will let your storytellers know that you are connecting with them and

their stories.


Interview Subject: “My assignment during the sit-ins was not to

leave the lunch counter until we had been served. This meant that

we had to keep our seats and remain nonviolent, even when people

started yelling and throwing food at us.”

Your paraphrase: “You were determined to stay at the lunch counter

until you had achieved your goal.”

Checking the Tape

When you feel the interview is complete. Stop the recorder and

rewind the tape. Replay the tape to check to see that the recording

can be seen and/or heard.

Ask your subject if he or she wishes to erase or add any comments

before you leave. Once both of you are satisfied, ask your subject

to sign the following permission form. This is an important final step

of the interview (This will allow you to show the interview to others.)

Before you leave, smile and say, “Thank you!”


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

These are a very helpful guidelines for carrying out interviews.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have posted my contribution on Women in the 20th century, translated into English by Vicente.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...

I checked my contribution on Czech women’s history published simultaneously at E-help site and at Education Forum. These two versions differ from each other. The right version is published at Education Forum at


I tried to reprint this version ton E-Help site but didn’t succeed to log in. What is my username? I tried with my first name and then with my both name but a failed several times and gave up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I checked my contribution on Czech women’s history published simultaneously at E-help site and at Education Forum. These two versions differ from each other. The right version is published at Education Forum at


I tried to reprint this version ton E-Help site but didn’t succeed to log in. What is my username? I tried with my first name and then with my both name but a failed several times and gave up.

Your user = help_dalibor

and I have reset your password to password. You need to log in and change it to something more secure

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now

  • Create New...