Women's Education: Results of Changed Attitudes in the 19th Century

Essay by sperryUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, November 2008

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Education was the wall keeping women from obtaining equal status in society during the nineteenth century. Before women gained the rights and privileges to a higher education, they were believed to be lower-class citizens, not worthy of voting, owning land or any other permanent rights. Women were detained of their pride and privileges by men of the community and their own husbands. However, they were able to escape these social limitations through education. When educated, they gained a sense of confidence and the power to change history. The struggle for women's education has been a rising conflict since the beginning. During the mid-eighteenth century, women were expected to live up to societies ideals of feminism. This ideology required women to be domestic and pure. None of these ideals could be achieved through education; during this era, getting an education meant you were not filling your place in society. People feared that if women became educated then they would not be able to fulfill their traditional roles and society would crumble.

However, in the nineteenth century, women began to desire knowledge for themselves and demanded for higher education. Through this, the attitudes towards higher education for women changed substantially during the nineteenth century allowing women the right to this opportunity. This paper will try to discuss the evolution of higher education for women and the consequences of changed attitudes in the nineteenth century.

During the nineteenth century, little to no controversy ever arisen over whether women should be allowed to attend elementary or high schools. Canadian society accepted the fact that both males and females needed to be educated in reading and writing. However, it wasn't until women started to demand for a higher education, did thereal controversies develop. Women wanted to attend higher educational institutions but at that age, society...