Lesson 9 - If youre a woman (or if you know and care about...

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If you’re a woman (or if you know and care about women in your life), take a second now and give thanks that women have access to education in this country. It was not so long ago that women in the US were either prohibited or discouraged from learning. Today, we’ll learn a little bit about the history of women’s education and we’ll learn about the current status of women in educational systems. Should Women Be Educated? If we think about the origin of formalized education, we probably credit the Romans and the Greeks as the first societies who valued skills such as literacy, math, and philosophy enough to teach these subjects to younger generations. Yet, in these early civilizations factors such as class, gender and race/ethnicity dictated who had access to education. For instance, it was believed that women should not learn to read or write (let alone more complicated subjects like math and philosophy) because such knowledge distracted women from their reproductive capacities. Such beliefs continued well into the early 1900s in this country, when women were believed to be “hysterical” because energies used to read, write, and think detracted from their “female systems”! Women’s fight for the right to become educated was an important theme in the first wave of feminism. In many ways, feminists were successful at improving women’s access to education and women’s educational status. We can thank feminists for encouraging colleges to admit women in the mid-1800s in this country, for passing important federal legislation that prohibits discrimination in any federally funded educational program, and for raising awareness about the importance of women’s ability to earn a degree to improve her life situation instead of being solely dependent on a man (e.g. her father or her husband). Please read this brief history of women in education .You’ll notice how closely the dates and time periods correspond to the first, second, and third waves of feminism that we talked about earlier in the semester. Yet, despite feminist progress in improving women’s access to education, there is still
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This note was uploaded on 02/03/2010 for the course WMNST 001 taught by Professor Jenniferbeindorf during the Spring '07 term at Penn State.

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Lesson 9 - If youre a woman (or if you know and care about...

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