History KS3 / GCSE: Development of the contraceptive pill

Andrew Marr explores the significance of the birth control movement in the United States in the early 20th century.

He looks at the background and controversy, the campaigning efforts of Margaret Sanger and the social impact of the contraceptive pill.

Warning: Contains upsetting scenes.

This is from the series Andrew Marr's History of the World

Teacher Notes

This clip can be used to consider the social impact of birth control on the lives of women.

When studying feminism in the 1960s and 70s, students are often asked to consider the impact of legislation referring to abortion and the introduction of the pill.

This clip is useful to illustrate why these were such important issues in the campaign for women’s rights.

This could offer a stimulus for research project into the historical introduction of contraception and why some people faced persecution.

Pupils could consider the impact on individuals and society today if we did not have access to effective contraception.

Students could watch this clip and, by dividing a page in two could note down what contraception gave women 'Freedom from…' and what it gave them 'Freedom to..' , as a way of introducing the impact on life of the contraceptive pill.

This could be the stimulus for a debate on whether other factors have had the same level of impact on women's' lives.

Examples of other factors might include education, expectations, media, feminism, technology or politics.

Create a poster or cartoon for the Anti-Flirt League campaigning against Sanger and the perceived moral decline of women in the 1920s.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching History, PSHE and Politics at KS3 and KS4/GCSE in England and Northern Ireland and National 5 and Higher in Scotland.

This topic appears in OCR, AQA in England, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA Scotland.

More from the series: Andrew Marr's History of the World

History KS3 / GCSE: American Civil War
History KS3 / GCSE: Gandhi
History KS3 / GCSE: Hitler's rise to power
History KS3 / GCSE: Russian Serfs
History KS3 / GCSE: The Atomic bomb
History KS3 / GCSE: China's Cultural Revolution
History KS3 / GCSE: The French Revolution
History KS3 / GCSE: The Industrial Revolution
History KS3 / GCSE: Alexander the Great