On 6 February 2018, one hundred years since women gained the right to vote, we launched Trailblazers: World War One’s Inspirational Women – a nationwide schools-focused project about inspirational women from the First World War and their impact on the societies around them.

A trailblazer is someone who goes ahead to find a way through unexplored territory leaving markers behind which others can follow. They are innovators, the first to do something.

The First World War gave women a chance to show their abilities in a wide range of public tasks  as they took on many support roles, and this began to break down prejudice. Many historians believe that women’s activism and contributions to the war, as well as public sympathy for the sacrifices made by the millions of serving soldiers, helped bring about the Representation of the People Act in 1918. Even today their inspirational stories can show us the way.

Schools across the country can be part of the Trailblazers project and discover inspirational women from the First World War, celebrate their achievements and identify Trailblazers from the present by:

  • Running classroom activities to learn more about the Trailblazers
  • Planning an assembly on International Women’s Day (8 March) led by students to tell your school or community about the Trailblazers.

Schools will be invited to an empowering development workshop on World War One women and inspirational women of today to create a legacy resource later in the year. Secondary schools that want to take part in the project will be sent the free Trailblazers schools resource pack.

“During the First World War many women were trailblazers. It was a time of political and social change that still has an impact 100 years on. This project not only raises awareness of the achievements of women from the period, but also empowers young people to research women today who are making an impact in their community, and to think about their own role in society and how they can become positive and active citizens.”

Dr Virginia Crompton, Chief Executive of Big Ideas

This year marks an important national moment, 100 years since the end of the First World War as well as celebrating the centenary of some women in the UK being granted the right to vote. The programme will sit at the heart of these commemorations and is a unique opportunity for schools to mark the centenary of the Armistice and celebrate women’s achievements in the First World War and the present day.”

Communities Minister Heather Wheeler

Funding and free resources are available to take part in Trailblazers. Find out more about the project and about some of the many trailblazing women of World War One on our Trailblazers project page.

Join the conversation on social media and tell us who you#Trailblazers are.

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