The history of women in schools is remarkable, seeing just how much worldwide society has changed over centuries to make education viable for men and women equally is a wonder to behold. But it didn’t just happen. In ancient times women were often educated to some extent, granted these were most likely wealthy women but the same could be said of men for the time, but then something happened. The dark ages marked a low point in education for women, and it took the efforts of many brave women to change the way society viewed the concept of an educated woman. In honor of women’s history month, Tassel Depot will look at some of the women who paved the road for women’s education today.
Who Was the First Woman to Go to College?
The beginnings of the modern history of women's education in Europe can be traced back to the Italian lawyer Bettisia Gozzadini, often credited as the first woman to receive the position of lecturer in a university. Women were allowed to attend universities at the time and although it was very discouraging and difficult to achieve, she was the first female professor in history!
Gozzadini’s work proved fruitful as her position encouraged fellow women of the time to attend. Thanks to her, we got to see the trend of female professors begin in Italy and later spread to Spain. And from there the rest of Europe. Gozzadini’s contribution to the history of women in schools cannot be overstated.
Who Are the Minority Women Who Fought for Education?
The history of education for women in the 1800s, especially for women’s education in America during the 1800s, truly begins to see a shift towards equality with Mary Jane Patterson. The first African American woman to receive a bachelor’s degree in the United States. Thanks to her education for minority women began to be seen as less taboo, and with time it grew to be seen as no more or less unusual than the education of any woman. The history of women in schools and minorities receiving an education has to come with a credit to Patterson, her bravery, and her intelligence.
How Do We See the Results of Historical Women in Education Today?
These two women are not the only two women to have attended university and brought a social change through their education. However, they are in many ways the first in two different areas. Thanks to their contribution and the contribution of many others, education for women is no longer an anomaly. Education for women through the 1900s became more and more common, and by the first years of the new millennia, more than half of all degrees were going to women. The history of women in schools is an ongoing story, and while many great strides towards equality have occurred in the past, we are sure that much more is to come.
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