Women and Education, 1800-1980

Women and Education, 1800-1980, with Jane Martin
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Secondary Education in a Changing World. Women and international intellectual co-operation J Goodman Paedagogica historica 48 3 , , Troubling histories and theories: gender and the history of education J Goodman History of education 32 2 , , The gendered politics of historical writing in History of Education J Goodman History of education 41 1 , , Reflections on researching an archive of disability: Sandlebridge, J Goodman Educational Review 55 1 , , Undermining or building up the nation? The effects that the discourses and ideologies present in contemporary society had on her actions and experience are then discussed.

For example, why could Jane Carlyle not realize her own ambitions? Why did Willa Muir put the professional needs of her husband Edwin first?

Egyptian Feminism (1800–1980)

He also outlines debates that are related to the issues that have been raised by her experience. This includes diaries, letters, and autobiographies, but he also relies extensively on secondary sources such as published biographies and studies of the individuals concerned. He attempts to expel the myths and unsubstantiated assumptions about these individuals to discover and explore their real lives and the true motives for their actions.

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In the case of Mary Slessor, this involved debunking her own story of her awakening to a Christian life, which led to her iconic status as a missionary. Knox does acknowledge that there were problems with the sources he consulted. For example, some of the individuals studied, such as Sophia Jex-Blake, had instructed that primary materials such as diaries be destroyed after their death.

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In such circumstances Knox relies on the biographies published by others who had been permitted to view material, which he admits is not an ideal situation. Similarly, many of the quotations from diaries and letters are attributed to published studies by other authors. Consequently Knox runs the risk of replicating mistakes in these secondary sources. Its main strength is in providing interesting accounts of extraordinary individuals, but the book also considers the restrictions placed on women, and why it was such an achievement that the subjects transcended such boundaries, each in their own way.

Another strength of the book is in bringing the lives of these women to the attention of the general public. In fact the volume is more successful in this respect than as an academic text—even the author acknowledges the limitations of the volume—but this does not detract from the fact that Knox is attempting to make the ten women included in the volume more visible in the history of Scotland. The editors would like to thank Valerie Wright for her generous review and the way in which she highlights many of the aims we hope to achieve with the publication of The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women.

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We would like to take the opportunity provided by this response to expand a little on her review by mentioning one or two more of its intentions. As Wright points out, several different categories of women are included in the book. This is discussed at more length in the introduction to the dictionary, but readers will find among the entries the lives of a herring gutter, an East Coast fishwife, a Shetland knitter, a coalminer and a bondager, to name just a few.

It is difficult to pigeonhole women, as Wright points out, and this is reflected in the fact that in the thematic index there are many instances of women being listed under a number of different categories, not just one or two. Hence the inclusion of the precise genealogical details, which Wright mentions, as well as the impact of child-bearing where relevant.

This issue is discussed more fully in L. Abrams et al eds. The thematic index is also intended to encourage researchers to explore links between women in similar fields.

A further tool to enable such linking is provided in the cross-referencing of entries. When a subject is mentioned in another biographical entry, an asterisk indicates that she has her own entry. In this way, readers will be able to recreate their own networks of interconnected lives, often hidden by changes in surname. Wright also pertinently raises the issue of Scottish identity, a topic of much recent discussion. This paper begins the process of 'filling a gap' in Welsh history and providing a meaningful context for comparative studies. It is also relevant to present day concerns in Wales about the imbalance of men and women in teaching.

My work, to date has concentrated upon South Wales. Teaching was a particularly significant profession there, where, due to the predominance of coal mining and other heavy industries, career opportunities were limited for both men and women, but especially so for women. The dramatic changes experienced in the region during the boom period of the coal industry followed by the depression of the inter-war years and the dislocation that this and the war which followed caused, had a marked effect on employment opportunities, and on the teaching profession.

It is, therefore, a particularly interesting place and period to study. Preliminary work to date has included a review of relevant literature, the recording and transcription of a series of recorded oral interviews with twenty former teachers from the area and the initial investigation of a few of the many available primary sources. This has shown that there is ample scope for comparative work. Previous studies have raised questions which need to be explored in relation to Wales, not merely about the structure of the profession, but also in terms of the life and work of teachers, their status in society and the ways in which they have been represented.

This paper will, firstly, examine the overall pattern of women's employment in teaching in Wales in the period and secondly, raise questions and issues for further investigation which have arisen in the course of the preliminary work. Much of the international research on the history of women in teaching has focused upon what is termed - although it is a contested term - the feminisation of the profession; that is, the numerical predominance of women over men and their concentration in particular sectors, which has been a common feature in almost all westernised countries, but with some exceptions, to a greater or lesser extent.

The feminist analysis of this process emphasises the economic, social and cultural reasons for women's dominance: - a brief summary would be that women were, in almost all countries, paid less than men teachers for doing the same work. The fact that they cost less to employ meant that they provided an army of cheap labour for the authorities.

Teaching - and teaching young children in particular, was considered to be an extension of their caring and nurturing role in society, and this meant that they became concentrated in the lower status sectors of what was seen as a fitting profession for girls. Consequently, the profession itself became less attractive to men at a time when, generally speaking, there were far more, and better paid, career opportunities for boys anyway. This interpretation is, of course, a simplification, and feminist historians have themselves problematised the process researching various regions and sectors in different periods to demonstrate a range of local variation which defies simplistic categorisation.

For example, differences between urban and rural areas, between Catholic and non-Catholic countries and in institutional and organisational structures in various cultural and social contexts Albiselti, Within the British Isles, for example, one difference is that in Scotland, a tradition of co-education meant that opportunities for women in teaching were more limited than in England and Wales where girls' schools provided an all-female environment and a ladder to headship.

What of Wales? To what extent does the Welsh experience mirror that of other countries, and what are the matters specific to Wales and the comparative issues which may arise? By way of introduction, it is worth saying that in Wales, it is has been assumed that teaching has held a special place in the occupational history of the nation, along with coalmining, slate quarrying and preaching. Wales, it is said, was traditionally famous for three major exports, coal, water and teachers.

Recent work by Robert Smith suggests that teachers although he says nothing of gender differences held an ambivalent social status in Victorian Wales, and there is certainly scope to question the assumption that teachers were always highly respected during this period and afterwards. Nevertheless, much evidence exists to support the view that teaching was held in high esteem in Wales, and that, as such it was felt to be a suitable occupation for its daughters. Asher Tropp, the historian of the profession notes that ' The high status of the teacher was particularly true in nonconformist Wales.

Welsh nonconformity had a widespread national and patriotic appeal with which teachers were associated' Tropp, , p. It was safer and more suitable for girls than others were then thought to be; and also, in the Welsh and nonconformist milieu from which I came, it was respected for what it was'. My interviewees, who went into teaching in the inter-war years all shared this view of teaching as a respectable job, but above all perhaps, a safe and financially secure employment. Respected or otherwise, teachers were certainly statistically significant in Wales , and teaching was of particular importance as a career for women.

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Women and Education, examines and celebrates the lives, aims, and achievements of six British women educational activists within nineteenth- and. Buy Women and Education, by Jane Martin, Joyce Goodman ( ISBN: ) from Amazon's Book Store. Everyday low prices and free .

The late Gareth Evans' work shows that the number of women exceeded the number of men in teaching for the first time during the 's, a time when the majority had become teachers via the pupil teacher route. The balance was slightly more equal after the second world war, but always with a very sizeable majority of women Williams, , Vol II. Note that all statistics which follow, unless otherwise noted, are calculated from tables based upon census and Board of Education figures published in Williams, , Vols.

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I and II.. Between and , full time teachers accounted for over 1 in 3 of the professional classes, and were still more than 1 in 4 in When male and female teachers are recorded separately, the greater involvement of women in teaching is clear. The fact that teaching becomes less significant statistically for women after the second world war can be accounted for, at least in part, by the fact that there were more openings in other professions by that time. The sheer number of teachers is also significant; they increased from almost 14, in to almost 17, in to around 17, in men and women , and that does not include Welsh teachers employed in England, of which there were surely many thousands more.

There are some trends in the statistics which need explanation. Firstly, the proportion and number of women in teaching in Wales rose until and declined slightly thereafter.

Gender Equality in Education

It seems that the depression in the 's affected the figures; there was certainly considerable unemployment among teachers at this time; it could be that the fact that the marriage bar was introduced in most authorities in contributed to this, although, in general, it seems that married women were kept out in order to provide posts for newly qualified unmarried women rather than for men , and it could also be that careers in other professions, particularly the civil service were more accessible by this time.

Another feature in Wales as in England was the high proportion of uncertificated and supplementary women teachers and a far lower proportion of certificated women teachers. The latter group needed only to have a clean bill of health to be employed - no training or observation whatsoever. So, women teachers were less well qualified than their male counterparts at this time, as indeed, they were for many years afterwards, despite the existence of equal numbers of training institutions for men and women in Wales.

One striking feature of the structure of the profession in Wales, as in many other countries, is the fact that historically, women have been concentrated in elementary and primary schools, particularly in the infant sector, whereas men have dominated in secondary.

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Part of the present concern in Wales about the lack of male role models for boys is the fact that women are now overtaking men in secondary schools too. Recent statistics show that the change did not occur until the mid s Office for National Statistics, II, p. At that time too, very few women were headteachers of mixed primary schools whereas most infant heads were women; later, with the growth of comprehensive education and the amalgamation of former single sex schools into co-educational institutions, women lost their roles as secondary headteachers, with the result that only 6.