A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this podcast.
Each episode presents a short biography of a prominent woman in history. Historical facts are given in the form of catchy Broadway tunes to help kids learn and retain information. The host, Gabrielle Mirabella narrates the story and Broadway actors portray each woman through song and prose. Episodes include a segment where the listener is invited to interact with the show by choosing from a multiple choice list of what they would do if they were in the same challenging situation as the subject of that episode.
Women's accomplishments are celebrated and are presented through the lens of female empowerment. A major theme is perseverance and inner strength. Each episode touches on challenges women in history had to overcome both within themselves and in the social environment at the time. Compassion, empathy, and courage are the focus of many stories. The overall message of the show is that women can do anything and can conquer hard things. Support, teamwork, and self-confidence are also recurring themes.
Positive Role Models
Women represented in each episode show perseverance, compassion, empathy, and courage. For example, when faced with self-doubt about going into space, Dr. Mae Jemison drew courage to follow her dreams and accept her invitation from NASA. Some episodes focus on the importance of staying true to yourself. Others depict supportive family relationships like that of Frida Kahlo and her mother, who encouraged Frida to pursue painting. The women highlighted throughout the podcast show young girls that they too can accomplish their dreams. Women supporting other women is exemplified throughout many episodes. In the episode about Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan, she emphasizes having to fall and make mistakes in order to learn and grow. Women are shown as successful and break gender roles and stereotypes.
Features diverse women in history from the artists, to social justice activists, to women in STEM, and more. A few of the many diverse representations include Xun Guan (a Chinese military General), Shirley Chisholm (first Black Congresswoman), Frida Kahlo (celebrated Mexican artist), and Maria Tallchief (a member of the Osage Nation and renowned ballerina). Women of related cultural backgrounds are brought on to voice characters of color. Episodes depict women having agency and defying gender norms. In one episode, a young Dr. Mae Jemison is laughed at by peers for saying she wants to become a scientist and not a nurse, going against normative gender roles that assume women only work in certain occupations. The young Dr. Jemison persists and goes on to become a scientist and astronaut, defying the gender norms of that era.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that What Will She Do Next? combines Broadway musicals and biographies as an entertaining and engaging way to teach kids about prominent women in history. Hosts use theatrical aspects to introduce kids to diverse women and the trials they face. Guest Broadway stars sing and perform key decision-making moments in each woman's life. Perseverance, courage, compassion, and empathy are central themes throughout. Stories highlight female empowerment, shattering gender stereotypes and women supporting and uplifting other women. The format may be more suitable for younger audiences who are starting to learn about new people and perspectives. Come for the heartwarming stories, stay for the catchy tunes the whole family will be singing along to.
Is It Any Good?
Quirky, catchy, and interactive, this podcast delivers a short introduction to some of history's notable women. What Will She Do Next? is an excellent introduction to women in history, feminism, and themes of perseverance and compassion. Much like Hamilton mixes biography with different musical genres, this podcast uses original songs and theatrical elements to enhance each story.
Listeners should note that not every episode has lyrical songs and the format may be more suitable for younger audiences who are starting to learn about new people and perspectives. The podcast introduces a diverse array of women and is a great starting point for kids to learn about important women in history and how they fought to break and defy gender stereotypes. Episodes are not only entertaining for the whole family, but also engaging, with fun breakout segments and catchy tunes.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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