When Did Higher Education For Women Begin In England?

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When Did Higher Education For Women Begin In England
5. The early 20th century: votes and degrees – The Victorian era had seen the establishment not only of schools open to women, but also of universities, and colleges within Oxford and Cambridge, Many of the universities founded in the Victorian era were co-educational from the start, and the red-brick universities of the early 20th century followed suit. When Did Higher Education For Women Begin In England Effigies of female scholars were burnt in the streets of Cambridge, and fireworks thrown in through their windows. In 1918, women in the UK were finally given the vote, if not quite on equal terms with men (that came in 1928). In 1920, Oxford became the second-to-last university in the UK to allow women to become full members and take degrees; previously, they had been allowed to study there, but not been given an equivalent award to men.
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When were women allowed higher education in UK?

The Pursuit of Knowledge The ancient Universities of Oxford (before 1167) and Cambridge (1209) were the only two English universities in existence until the nineteenth century when, London (1827) and King’s College, London (1829) combined to form the University of London in 1836.

In the north of England, the University of Durham had been founded in 1832. But none of these universities accepted women as students. In 1867, Anne Clough inspired the establishment of the North of England Council for Promoting Higher Education for Women which started the movement for university lectures for women.

Despite passing university examinations, women were not allowed to be awarded degrees until 1878 at University of London, 1895 at Durham, 1920 at Oxford, and 1948 at Cambridge. In 1929, the author, Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) wrote about the wealth accumulated by the men’s ancient colleges visible in their splendid buildings, none of which had come the way of women’s education.

Emily Davies (1830-1921) experienced the problem firsthand when fundraising in the 1870s to build a women’s university college offering the same examinations as those of male undergraduates at Cambridge. ‘We are told that we ought to ask for £30,000 at leastIt is not a large sum, considering that there is to be but one college of this sortand considering how easy it is to raise immense sums for boys’ schools.

But considering how few people really wish women to be educated, it is a good deal.’ Lack of money forced women, eager to get their projects started, to rent domestic buildings while raising money for purpose-built premises., Cambridge began life in 1869 as Hitchin College for Women in a redbrick detached villa where a hut in the garden known as the tabernacle provided extra accommodation.

  • Parental concern at the moral danger of girls leaving home highlighted the importance of location.
  • Davies ensured ‘respectability’ by choosing Benslow House in the (then remote) village of Hitchin, between Cambridge and London, to deter visits by male students from Cambridge! Davies and Bodichon, Girton’s founders, were forced to raise a loan to buy 16 acres near Girton village but needed a further £7,000 for the construction of a college with proper facilities.

Bodichon, who had previously built her own house in Sussex, chaired the Building Sub-Committee and liaised with the architect, Alfred Waterhouse. The building was unfinished when students arrived in 1873. They commented on ‘a red raw building with windows and doors still being fitted,’ design sacrificed to finance when a window in the original plans had been changed resulting in ‘a long bit of blank wall outside, which is very ugly’ and that even before the building was complete it was overcrowded as enrolments increased.

  1. A year later Bodichon made interior design plans with her friend, Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932) to improve the basic conditions which Davies thought unnecessary, and certainly financially unwise.
  2. All these struggles eventually paid off establishing a foundation for future growth.
  3. The British Federation of University Women purchased a lease for, Cheyne Walk, London SW3 in 1926 as an international hall of residence for university women, with a purpose-built extension.

The second women’s university college,, Cambridge was founded in 1871 in buildings designed by Basil Champney. With its expansion in 1938, the college employed a noted woman architect, (1898-1972) to work on the design of Fawcett Hall, named after, Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.
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When did women first go to university in England?

In 1868, nine women were admitted to the University of London. This was the first time in Britain that women had gained access to university education and this modest event was an immensely significant moment for the University, for women and for society as a whole.
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When did women start attending higher education?

1800–1849 – 1803

United States: Bradford Academy in Bradford, Massachusetts, was the first higher educational institution to admit women in Massachusetts. It was founded as a co-educational institution, but became exclusively for women in 1837.

1818

India: Western Christian missionaries opened the first western-style charter schools in India open to girls.

1822

Serbia: Girls were allowed to attend elementary schools with boys up until the fourth grade.

1823

Argentina: The Sociedad de Beneficencia de Buenos Aires was charged by the government to establish and control (private) elementary schools for girls (they retain the control of the schools for girls until 1876).

1826

United States: The first American public high schools for girls were opened in New York and Boston.

1827

Brazil: The first elementary schools for girls and the profession of school teacher were opened.

1829

United States: The first public examination of an American girl in geometry was held.

1830s

Egypt: Christian missionaries were allowed to open elementary schools for girls.

1831

United States: As a private institution in 1831, Mississippi College became the first coeducational college in the United States to grant a degree to a woman. In December 1831 it granted degrees to two women, Alice Robinson and Catherine Hall.

1834

Greece: Got compulsory prime education for both boys and girls, in parallel with the foundation of the first private secondary educational schools for girls, such as the Arsakeio,

1834

Iran: The Fiske Seminary, first school for girls, was opened in Urmia,

1837

United States: Bradford Academy in Bradford, Massachusetts, due to declining enrollment, became a single-sexed institution for the education of women exclusively.

1839

United States: Established in 1836, Georgia Female College in Macon, Georgia, opened its doors to students on January 7, 1839. Now known as Wesleyan College, it was the first college in the world chartered specifically to grant bachelor’s degrees to women.

1840s

Denmark: In the 1840s, schools for girls spread outside the capital and a net of secondary education girl schools was established in Denmark.

1841

Bulgaria: The first secular girls school made education and the profession of teacher available for women.

1842

Sweden: Requires compulsory elementary school for both sexes.

1843

Ghana: Catherine Mulgrave arrived on the Gold Coast from Jamaica and subsequently established three boarding schools for girls at Osu (1843), Abokobi (1855) and Odumase (1859) between 1843 and 1891.

1844

Finland: The foundation of the Svenska fruntimmersskolan i Åbo and its sister school Svenska fruntimmersskolan i Helsingfors in Helsinki.

1846

Denmark: The first college for women in Denmark, the teachers seminary Den højere Dannelsesanstalt for Damer, was opened in 1846.

1847

  • Belgium: Elementary school for both genders.
  • Costa Rica: First high school for girls, and the profession of teacher was opened to women.
  • Ghana: Rosina Widmann opens a vocational school for girls in January 1847, with the first classes in needlework for 12 girls at her home in Akropong in the Gold Coast colony.

1848

India: Elementary school for girls, Bhide Wada, in Pune by Savitribai Phule and her husband.

1849

  • United States: Elizabeth Blackwell, born in England, became the first woman to earn a medical degree from an American college, Geneva Medical College in New York.
  • United Kingdom: Bedford College opens in London as the first higher education college for women in the United Kingdom.
  • India: Secondary education for girls was made available by the foundation of the Bethune College,

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Did women go to uni in the 50s?

The Story of Women in the 1950s Sandwiched between the sacrifices of the 1940s and the excesses of the ‘swinging sixties’, were the fifties have a dull decade? When Did Higher Education For Women Begin In England Image from The Ladies’ Home Journal, 1948. Wiki Commons. Following her probes into the lives of women after the First World War and their roles in the Second, Virginia Nicholson moves forward into a decade that has only recently begun to receive the attention it deserves.

Sandwiched between the privations and sacrifices of the 1940s and the affluent excesses of the ‘swinging sixties’, the fifties have long been regarded as a dull decade, when Britain was struggling to rebuild a devastated and shabby country and ‘face the future’, in the words of the Labour Party’s 1945 election slogan.

For many women they were years of frustration at wartime gains lost, whereas others nursed a profound desire to return to the certainties of their pre-war lives. But for both the future was to prove circumscribed. Women might have had the vote on the same terms as men since 1929, but for most that was pretty well the limit of their equality: working women were paid much less than men and despite the responsibilities and sheer hard graft many had endured in wartime, were still regarded as submissive and inferior beings.

Educational opportunities were limited. The 1944 Education Act was supposed to give everyone ‘parity of esteem’, but that is not how it worked out. Many teachers and parents had narrow expectations for girls whose destiny was to be marriage, a home and a family, with work just an interim measure between leaving school and walking down the aisle, rather than a career.

Just 1.2 per cent of women went to university in the 1950s. In many cases, a woman’s lot seems to have hardly improved by marriage. Imagining wives to be fulfilled by having an easy-to-clean Formica worktop and a twin-tub washing machine, husbands could be harsh taskmasters, most regarding running the home and parenting solely as a woman’s responsibility, expecting meals ready when they returned from work, making all the household decisions of consequence and largely continuing to inhabit a separate sphere of pubs and football.

Nicholson stitches together some telling interviews to support this perception: the wife whose husband confiscated her pearl necklace until she ‘learned not to swear’, the mother who wept when her daughter called off her engagement since she had already purchased a set of wall-lights in anticipation.

However, she also includes exceptions to the Stepford Wives stereotypes; Dora Russell who organised a ‘peace caravan’ of women against nuclear war, pioneers of birth control, the working-class girl who knew her looks would get her out of the factory and ruthlessly fought her way to be crowned Miss Great Britain,

  • As ever, the perfect and the ideal were a chimera, but frequently proved oppressive ones for women in the 1950s.
  • Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes: The Story of Women in the 1950s Virginia Nicholson Viking/Penguin 526pp £16.99 Buy from (affiliate link) Juliet Gardiner is a historian and broadcaster and a former editor of History Today,

: The Story of Women in the 1950s
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When did Oxford start accepting female students?

1974. Jesus College, Wadham College, Hertford College, Brasenose College and St Catherine’s College began to admit women, with Daphne Dumont becoming the first female student to be admitted to any of the Oxford men’s colleges.
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What year were women allowed in universities?

The first women at university: remembering ‘the London Nine’ At 2pm on Saturday 15 May 1869, the 17 examiners of the University of London gathered at Somerset House on the Strand. Their task that afternoon was an unusual one: to assess and grade the university’s first “General Examination for Women”, which nine candidates had sat earlier that month.

The examiners (all men) awarded honours to six of the nine women: Sarah Jane Moody,,, Kate Spiller, Isabella de Lancy West and Susannah Wood. The remaining three students – Mary Anne Belcher, Hendilah Lawrence and Mary Baker Watson – did not pass the examination. Regardless, all nine were pioneers in women’s higher education.

In June 1868, the University of London’s Senate had voted to admit women to sit the General Examination, so becoming the world’s first university to accept women. Candidates were required to pass at least six papers across a range of subjects: Latin, English language, English history, geography, mathematics, natural philosophy, two from Greek, French, German and Italian, and either chemistry or botany.

The University ruled that the General Examination would not be “on the whole less difficult than the existing Matriculation Examination”. Despite this, unlike their male peers, on passing the General Examination successful women didn’t receive a degree but a “Certificate of Proficiency”. It would be another decade before women were admitted to the university’s degree programme, with London again the first to offer this option to female students.

Some 150 years on from that first intake, the University of London is celebrating the admission of its first nine female students, and the many thousands who have since followed. This month, the university launched its “Leading Women” campaign at Senate House in London.

  • The campaign, which runs during 2018 and beyond, will commemorate alumnae, celebrate contemporary female students and champion the next generation – including those young women who turn 18 in 2018.
  • Women’s higher education in London dates from the late 1840s, with the foundation of Bedford College by the Unitarian benefactor,,

Bedford was initially a teaching institution independent of the University of London, which was itself an examining institution, established in 1836. Over the next three decades, London University examinations were available only to male students. Demands for women to sit examinations (and receive degrees) increased in the 1860s.

After initial resistance, a compromise was reached and, in August 1868, the university announced that female students aged 17 or over would be admitted to the university to sit the new General Examination for Women. Of those first nine women who took the exam, several went on to distinguished careers.

Louise Hume von Glehn (1850-1936) became a campaigner for working women and a writer of popular histories, which were published under her married name, Louise Hume Creighton. Eliza Orme (1848-1937) went on to a law degree, a successful legal career and was active in the suffrage and prison reform movements.

Nown for her pragmatism, she later championed “sound-minded women who wear ordinary bonnets and carry medium-sized umbrellas”. Given their commitment to education, it’s no surprise that three of the successful candidates went into teaching. Sarah Moody and her sisters established a preparatory school in Guildford, while Susannah Wood – having graduated with a BSc – taught maths in Cheltenham, Bath and Cambridge.

In 1891, Wood was appointed vice-principal of the Cambridge Training College for Women that later became, Kate Spiller returned to her native Bridgwater, in Somerset, where she too was an active member of her local school board. Spiller was not the only candidate who travelled to London for the examinations: Susannah Wood came from Cheltenham and Sarah Moody journeyed from Hertfordshire.

The potential hazards of metropolitan life did not go unnoticed. The Home Office recommended that steps be taken “to prevent the excitementwhich might arise from bringing these young persons up to London for examination”, and a matron was on hand. In truth, the Home Office need not have worried. The London Nine were characterised by an independent spirit and made their own way – professionally and personally – in adult life.

Kate Spiller and Sarah Moody lived with their sisters into old age and – along with Eliza Orme and Susannah Wood – chose not to marry. Between 1869 and 1878, more than 250 women sat the General Examination, of whom 139 passed and were awarded honours.

  1. They came from Bedford and other London colleges, as well as schools such as Cheltenham Ladies’ College.
  2. A further 40 successful candidates prepared with “private tuition”.
  3. During the 1870s, candidates arrived from across Britain, including girls’ schools in York, Liverpool, Bradford and Kendal.
  4. Today, their successors come to London from countries across the globe, or continue to study remotely.

The University of London’s International programme has more than 50,000 students worldwide on its distance learning programmes. Their achievements will feature prominently in the Leading Women campaign. In the coming months, talks, open days, workshops and competitions will champion today’s students and encourage others to follow them in the 2020s.

The features a gallery of 150 notable London alumnae and staff active from the 1860s to the present day – among them Elisabeth Jesser Reid, Louise von Glehn and others who took inspiration from the London Nine. Philip Carter is senior lecturer and head of digital at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London.

: The first women at university: remembering ‘the London Nine’
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What was the first University to allow female students?

In Yale Needs Women, author Anne Gardiner Perkins explores the circumstances surrounding Yale University’s decision to go coed in 1969, and the experiences of its first female students. Yale’s change in policy was hardly revolutionary, as some colleges and universities in the U.S.

Had been coed since the 19th century. Oberlin College in Ohio was the first higher learning institution to admit women in the United States. The college opened in 1833, permitted Blacks to apply in 1835, and became coed in 1837 with the admission of four female students. Three of the four graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1841.

The fourth, Mary Kellogg, had to drop out because she could no longer afford the tuition, but later returned to finish after she was married (to future Oberlin College president James Harris Fairchild). In 1862, Mary Jane Patterson graduated from Oberlin, becoming the first Black woman in the United States to earn a Bachelor’s degree.

In 1860, James Harris Fairchild gave a speech called “Joint Education of the Sexes” in which he declared with regard to men and women, “neither can be elevated without the other.their responsibilities in the work of life, though different, are equal.” He went on to note that in this particular year there were approximately 500 women at Oberlin, making up about 40% of the student body.

Famed feminist and abolitionist Lucy Stone graduated from Oberlin in 1847, and was employed by the American Anti-Slavery Society just a year later. Franklin College in Indiana began admitting women in 1842, followed by Michigan’s Hillsdale College in 1844.

Like Oberlin, Hillsdale accepted Black students as well. The school’s first female graduate was Elizabeth Camp, who earned a Bachelor’s of Science in 1851. Hillsdale notes in its official history, however, that college clubs and societies were not coed, and that socializing between the sexes was strictly monitored: “If a couple so much as wanted to take a walk together, special permission was required from the college president or dean of women.” Baylor University in Texas was open to admitting female students from its founding in 1845, though this policy fluctuated over the years.

The school awarded its first “Maid of Arts” to a woman, Mary Gentry Kavanaugh, in 1855. Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio was founded in 1847 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ with an open-door policy for women (and people of color), who were permitted to take the same courses as male students. This “beyond the book article” relates to Yale Needs Women, It originally ran in September 2019 and has been updated for the July 2021 paperback edition. Go to magazine, This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today,
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What was the first University to admit women?

Early women graduates – Faculty of Medicine Online Museum and Archive The University of Sydney Medical School was the first to admit women students. In this regard the Dean, Anderson Stuart seems, on the surface at least, to have been rather progressive in his views.

In his book The Melbourne Medical School 1862–1962 Kenneth Russell cites a letter of 1885 from Anderson Stuart to David Grant, Lecturer in Materia Medica at Melbourne University, in which Anderson Stuart both rationally and logically advances the right of women to enter on the study of medicine: I have had a lady () in my classes for over two years, as gentle and modest a lady as I have ever seen, as such she came to us and as such she has remained As a teacher I have never experienced the slightest difficulty in saying what I have to say in the presence of ladies and I have never attempted to gloss over certain subjects because ladies were present The apparent liberalism of these views, however, must be regarded with some reservation as the story of, the first woman to begin the study of medicine in Australia, seems to show: Dagmar enrolled in Medicine in 1885 but appears to have failed her First Professional Examination that year, for she is again listed as a second year student in the 1886 Calendar.

That year, she passed her First Professional Examination in Medicine entering Medicine III in 1887 and Medicine IV in 1888. She evidently failed the Second Professional Examination in 1888 since she remained in Medicine IV in 1889. At the end of that year she passed Anatomy and Physiology, the first two units of her Second Professional Examinations, but did not pass Materia Medica and Pathology.

She was given deferred examinations in these in March 1890 which she failed. After this last failure, Dagmar left Sydney and went to England as she felt that she was being obstructed from passing her examinations at the University of Sydney. At London University she readily qualified in 1893 and began resident work in a hospital in Tottenham, England.

When she returned to Sydney in 1895, she set up practice in Macquarie Street in 1895 and was only the second woman to register to practice as a doctor with the Medical Board of New South Wales. Sadly, she died five years later at the young age of thirty-four.

She is commemorated at the University of Sydney by a prize for proficiency in the final Barrier Examination. By making the break into a male stronghold, Dagmar had opened the way for other women to follow. Yet, in the first ten years of its existence, the University of Sydney Medical School produced only two women graduates: Iza Coghlan and Grace Robinson both graduated in 1893.

However, once the doors of the Medical School had been opened to admit women, there was a small but steady stream of female enrolments and graduations. In 1898, there were four women graduates: Harriett Biffin, Ada Affleck, Julia Carlisle Thomas and Alice Newton.

Iza Coghlan became the first Sydney graduate to establish private practice in her home city, thus setting an important example and precedent for subsequent Sydney women graduates, and went on later to help form the New South Wales Medical Women’s Association. Grace Robinson formed the Professional Women’s Association, whose objective was to bring together professional women interested in improving the social conditions of women and children. Julia Carlisle Thomas established the Sydney Medical Mission. Harriett Biffin and Lucy Gullett played key roles in the establishment of the Rachel Forster Hospital for Women and Children.

Jessie Aspinall was the first woman appointed Resident at the Prince Alfred Hospital. Susie O’Reilly’s battle with Sydney Hospital subsequently opened the doors of that institution to receive women residents. Constance d’Arcy became the first woman ever to be elected to the Senate of the University of Sydney. Margaret Harper was the first Lecturer in Diseases of the Newborn at the University of Sydney, the moving spirit of the Tresillian Mothercraft Centres, a Foundation Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, and an early supporter of the Rachel Forster Hospital.

Although Dagmar had opened the way for women at the University of Sydney, the doors of medical institutions in New South Wales were still fairly firmly closed to women graduates at the turn of the century. After her graduation in 1905, Susie O’Reilly became a cause célèbre in her attempts to break down these subsequent barriers to women practitioners gaining experience side by side with men in public rather than private practice.

  1. Susie’s unsuccessful application to the Royal Prince Alfred, North Shore and Sydney Hospitals led to a public outcry from the press and organisations such as the Women’s Progressive Organisation against discrimination based on sex.
  2. Having passed fourth on the merit list in her year, Susie, had she been male, would have automatically qualified to be considered for residency at one of the major hospitals.

Yet her application to Sydney Hospital was declined on the grounds that it had no suitable accommodation for women practitioners. As this was the main reason given for refusal, pressure was brought to bear on the Premier of New South Wales. The Premier’s Department promised to look into the matter and, at the end of 1905, the Board of Directors of Sydney Hospital moved in favour of alterations to enable the Hospital to accept women in the future.

  • In the meanwhile, however, Susie had successfully applied for a residency at Adelaide General Hospital.
  • At the end of the same year, 1905, Jessie Aspinall completed her finals at the University of Sydney and was offered a residency by the Medical Board of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
  • Yet, the Conjoint Board refused to ratify the Hospital’s decision.

This provoked a strong public outcry. Jessie’s father, women’s organisations, the press and the public at large joined forces in what was basically a battle over women’s rights. Anderson Stuart, being both Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Chairman of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, was understandably expected to express an opinion on the matter.

  • He supported Jessie’s case unequivocally: she had succeeded ‘in open competition with men’ and was therefore entitled to the position.
  • Public opinion, Anderson Stuart’s stand and finally the Premier’s intervention led to Jessie being reinstated, the first woman to be appointed to one of the main general hospitals in Sydney.

Prior to this, experience could be gained in private practice, by going interstate or overseas, or by working at the Sydney Medical Mission, which was established in 1900 with the objective of alleviating medical problems among the indigent populace of the inner city.

  • The instigator here was Julia Carlile Thomas, and so the Mission became a centre of clinical experience for other women graduates as well.
  • As the institution was almost wholly staffed by voluntary workers and its income barely covered expenditure, the Medical Mission was not a viable economic alternative to private practice or a general hospital appointment for any recent graduate.

It did, however, serve the function for which it was originally established and in its time had help and encouragement from such prominent medical figures as J T Wilson, Charles Bickerton Blackburn, Margaret Harper, Jessie Aspinall and Susie O’Reilly.

The Medical Mission functioned almost until the end of the World War I, but finally had to be closed down due largely to the fact that the war very seriously depleted the number of practitioners available to work in it. The time was now ripe for women graduates to attempt what had not been possible when there was only a handful of them – namely, found a hospital staffed by women for women.

The impetus came from Lucy Gullett who, after visiting the Queen Victoria Hospital in Melbourne during its 25 anniversary celebrations in 1921, came back to Sydney determined to start a similar hospital in her home state. Together with Harriett Biffin she founded the Rachel Forster Hospital for Women and Children in 1922.

Citation: Mellor, Lise and Witton, Vanessa (2008) Early women graduates, Faculty of Medicine Online Museum and Archive, University of Sydney. An alternate version appears in: Young, J A, Sefton, A J, Webb, N. Centenary Book of the University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine, (1984) Sydney University Press for The University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine.

: Early women graduates – Faculty of Medicine Online Museum and Archive
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Did women go to college in the 60s?

Women, Marriage, Education, and Occupation in the United States from 1940-2000 Introduction: Question: From 1940-2000, how did women’s involvement in higher education shift, and what influenced it? Women’s participation in higher education increased in the 1960s and 1970s.

  • Why? What factors influenced this trend from 1940 to 2000 and beyond? Starting in 1979, more women have been enrolled in higher education than men in the United States (Touchton, 50).
  • In 2014, 30.2% of women had a bachelor’s degree, compared to 29.9% of men (Feeney).
  • Women’s participation in higher education has been and continues to be influenced by many factors, including race, social norms, and marriage status.

The Civil Rights Movement in the United States fueled the feminist movement as well. Women demanded equal rights in education on the basis that equality for all in education and under the law should include women of all races as well, not just men of all races.

Like the fight against systemic racism, the fight against sexism, especially in higher education and the workplace, remains a difficult battle because the idea of the women’s role in the home and as a caretaker was deeply ingrained in United States society. The 1940s and 1950s marked periods of decreased female employment, due to the post-War economic boom and return of men home from war.

However, starting in earnest in the 1950s, the “emphasis on homemaking as women’s primary role was slowly destabilized by a shift in private preferences toward a greater emphasis on careers” (Jones, 282). Teaching, a profession popular amongst women, was a good gateway for women entering other fields because it helped open people to the idea of women with careers.

The distinction between careers and jobs is an important distinction to make in understanding the increase in women’s higher education in the United States in the second half of the 20th century. Having career aspirations was a relatively new concept for women. Previously, men attended college in the hopes of pursuing a career, and therefore throughout the 1960s and 1970s, “the enrollment of men remained relatively constant” (Touchton, 50).

Women were expected to remain in the home and raise children, which was work, but not a career. Jobs are temporary and do not have a distinct future, but a career is a path in which individuals build on their experiences to create a holistic story: “a job has limits a career, in contrast, requires commitment of energy and spirit” (Jones, 251).

  • In addition, an increase in divorce and an overall decrease in the rate of marriage compelled women to seek self-sufficiency.
  • A college education provides a higher probability of an economically stable future and occupation.
  • This trend toward higher education to generate a dependent future income and occupation, specifically for White women, mirrored the pre-existing pressures on minority women to secure an occupation and income.

Due to discrimination, women of different races could not rely solely on husband’s income to support a family as was a trend for the large portion of White families in the 1940s through the 1970s. Jones states, “you were not going to raise a family on one Black man’s salary” (Jones, 256).

For example, “90% of Black college and university women” in 1955 were attending higher education to prepare for an occupation (Jones, 250). The same could not be said of many White women overall, with whom it was frequently a goal to meet a husband through college or before college. Britney Nicole Gilmore’s piece also investigates the role of race and culture in educational attainment in “Hispanic Women’s Higher Education Experiences.” She investigates the hypothesis that Hispanic culture specifically influences Hispanic women and their decision making process when considering higher education.

She argues that Hispanic women’s lower participation rate in higher education was not only a result of discrimination. She argues, “the belief to be more involved in family possibly becomes overwhelming for Hispanic women,” contributing to lower percentages of Hispanic women earning college degrees compared to other race groups (Gilmore, 9).

My research has revealed many deeper causes of increased higher education in women, varying distinctly by race. Although it is true that the social norms of marriage had a large impact on women’s participation in higher education in the United States in the second half of the 20th century, many other factors were highly influential as well.

Race and occupational aspirations impacted the growing trend seen in women’s higher education. Social norms opened the floodgates to women pursuing college degrees in the 1960s and 1970s. Data and Methods: The data for all figures are from the census data available on IPUMS, the Integrated Public-Use Microdata Series.

It was extracted from IPUMS 1% samples for the years 1940-2000 in the United States; however, for the year 1970 the 1% State Form was used, and for 1980, the 1% Metro Form was used. Women under the age of 22 were filtered out to isolate the college-aged and possible college-graduate population of females.

Figure 1 is a line graph that visualizes the percent of women with a college degree by race. Using the EDUCD variable, anyone with 4 years of college or more is considered as having a degree, and anyone with less than 4 years of college is considered as not having a degree.

  • Married’ denotes any woman ever married, and ‘Unmarried’ denotes any woman never married.
  • Because race and ethnicity are separate variables, I used the HISPAN and RACESING variables to identify if someone was Hispanic and if not to use the single race variable to place them into an IPUMS race category.

The race categories are Hispanic, White, Black, Native American, Asian, and Other. The ‘Other’ category was filtered out due to inconsistency. Code for this visualization available on, Figure 2 shows a bar graph of the marriage rate by race for women. I again used the HISPAN and RACESING variables to create race categories.

  • The race categories are Hispanic, White, Black, Native American, Asian, and Other with the ‘Other’ category filtered out due to inconsistency.
  • The same qualifications for the ‘Married’ and ‘Unmarried’ as well as the ‘Degree’ and ‘No Degree’ as Figure 1 categories were used.
  • Code for this visualization available on,

Figures 3-9 show maps of the United States, broken down by state. These maps visualize the percent of women holding college degrees by birth state for each year, 1940-2000. The variables BPL and STATEFIP were used to link women to their state of birth on the map.

Code for this visualization available on, Figure 10 shows a bar graph of the percent of divorced women for each year. The percent of divorced women was calculated by dividing the number of divorced women by the total number of women in each year. Code for this visualization available on, Figure 11 shows a bar graph of the percent of women holding college degrees for each year, again using the EDUCD variable to determine degree-holders.

The percent of women holding degrees was calculated by dividing the number of women holding degrees by the total number of women in each year. Code for this visualization available on, Figure 12 visualizes the occupation of women by race and year. Using the OCC-1950 variable, which creates occupation categories consistent with the 1950 census, I created 6 occupation variables: none, farm and farm laborers, craftsmen/ operatives/laborers, managerial/clerical/sales, service, and professional.

  • The graph is grouped by race like figures 1 and 2, and again the ‘Other’ category was filtered out.
  • Code for this visualization available on,
  • Visualizations: Figure 1 – Percent of Women over 22 with a College Degree by Race, 1940-2000 Figure 2 – Marriage Rate by Race for Women over 22 Figures 3 – Percent of Women Holding College Degrees by Birth State, 1940 Figures 4 – Percent of Women Holding College Degrees by Birth State, 1950 Figures 5 – Percent of Women Holding College Degrees by Birth State, 1960 Figures 6 – Percent of Women Holding College Degrees by Birth State, 1970 Figures 7 – Percent of Women Holding College Degrees by Birth State, 1980 Figures 8 – Percent of Women Holding College Degrees by Birth State, 1990 Figures 9 – Percent of Women Holding College Degrees by Birth State, 2000 Figure 10 – Percent of Divorced Women in the United States, 1940-2000 Figure 11 – Percent of Women Holding College Degrees in the United States, 1940-2000 Figure 12 – Occupation of Women Over 22 by Race, 1940-2000 Results and Discussion: Figure 1 shows the percent of women over 22 with a college degree by race from 1940-2000.

Asian women consistently have a higher percent of degree-holders in both the married and unmarried categories, with White women holding the second highest percent in each year for 6 of the 7 years shown. Hispanic, Black, and Native American women have the lower percentages of college degree holders in both categories, married and unmarried, for each year.

  1. Overall, more unmarried women hold college degrees than married women.
  2. This reflects the work of Stacey Jones, who argues that as social norms tended toward marrying later or not marrying at all, women sought education more and more as a route to reliable income and self-sufficiency.
  3. For both White and Asian women, the percent of unmarried women with college degrees is over 10% higher than married women.

Figure 2 shows the marriage rate by race for women from 1940-2000. For Hispanic, White, and Asian women, the marriage rate peaked in 1960 but hovers around 80% for every year shown in the data. The marriage rate for White women is the most stable after the 1960 peak.

  • However, the marriage rate of Black women dramatically drops below 75% after 1950.
  • This is the only race category that drops below the 75% mark in any year.
  • A decreasing marriage rate correlates with and increase in women’s seeking higher education and careers.
  • From “1977 to 1987, the enrollment of women increased by 20%” (Touchton, 50).

Figures 3-9 show maps of the United States with the percent of women holding college degrees by birth state for the years 1940-2000. The progression of the maps shows the overall increase in women holding college degrees in the United States for the time period.

The Northeast and the West Coast, specifically California, Washington, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, have the most consistently high percentage of women holding college degrees relative to other states of birth, showing that region of birth influences the likelihood that a woman pursues and earns a college degree.

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Figure 10 shows the percent of divorced women and Figure 11 shows the percent of women holding college degrees in the United States from 1940-2000. Together, these two graphs show the correlation between the increasing frequency of divorce and an increase in the percent of college-educated women.

Tian Yanfeng summarizes this phenomenon: “the higher the divorce rate, the greater number of women are exposed to increasing deprivation and uncertainty. Consequently, they are motivated to seek alternatives to reduce their uncertainties” (Yanfeng, 4). College is one such route to reduce the uncertainty of the future.

The increased prevalence of divorce was one factor in eliminating the traditional, societal idea that men can be depended on to provide lifelong financial support, driving women to seek their own career paths and steady sources of income. A college education can provide this future stability.

  1. Figure 12 shows the percent of women in different occupation categories by race for the years 1940-2000 in the United States.
  2. For all race categories, there is a decrease in women without an occupation and an increase in women in the professional segment.
  3. In the 1950s and 1960s, “college and university women themselves had limited career ambitions, reflecting the ‘climate of unexpectation’ in the country” (Jones, 262).

Hispanic, Black, and Native American women have a smaller percent of women in the professional segment than White and Asian women. Furthermore, more White women are unoccupied than Black women, to an especially significant degree in 1950 and 1960, showing that “full-time homemaking was an unaffordable luxury,” for many race groups (Jones, 256).

  • The percent of women in the service industry is especially higher for Black women than women in other race categories, specifically in the years 1960 and 1970.
  • The different occupational trends for race groups capture the varying but perpetual social norms, expectations, and limits imposed on women of different races in the second half of the twentieth century.

Conclusion: Women’s role in higher education was not only influenced by the availability of higher education opportunities through the opening-up of colleges and universities across the country, but also greater societal forces were highly influential.

Cultural norms and the changing nature of marriage as well as racial discrimination and racial variation impacted women’s enrollment in and completion of college. To sum the trend of women in higher education to one factor overlooks various important influences. Furthermore, although women as a group overall experienced an increase in levels of higher education, each group of women, by race, marriage status, and region of birth, experienced the phenomenon in a unique way with unique influences.

Bibliography: Drucker, Joshua, “Reconsidering the Regional Economic Development Impacts of Higher Education Institutions in the United States” (Chicago: University of Illinois at Chicago, October, 2014) Faragher, John Mack and Florence Howe, Women and Higher Education in American History: Essays from the Mount Holyoke College Sesquicentennial Symposia (New York: W.W.

Feeney, Noah, “Women are Now More Likely to Have College Degrees than Men,” Time, http://time.com/4064665/women-college-degree/Gilmore, Britney Nicole, “Hispanic Women’s Higher Education Experiences: An Examination of the Influence of Culture and Family” (Austin State University: December 2013).Jones, Stacey, “Dynamic Social Norms and the Unexpected Transformation of Women’s Higher Education,” Social Science History 33:3 (Fall 2009): 247-291.Tian, Yanfeng, “Divorce, Gender Role, and Higher Education Expansion” Higher Education 32:1 (July 1996): 1-22.Touchton, Judith and Lynne Davis, Fact Book on Women in Higher Education (New York: Macmillan 1991)

: Women, Marriage, Education, and Occupation in the United States from 1940-2000
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What percentage of women had a college degree in 1950?

https://sites.lib.jmu.edu/sc-interviews/files/2020/03/Barbara-Anderson-Interview-HST-150h.mp3 Interview with Barbara Anderson, History 150 Spring 2020, Conducted by Carter Gilbert, March 9, 2020. Biography: I interviewed my grandmother, Barbara Anderson.

  • Barbara Anderson graduated from Westhampton College, which was a part of the University of Richmond, in 1959 after studying chemistry.
  • She worked at Medical College of Virginia (MCV) for eight years, where she was in a cardiovascular research lab, and helped doctors with their research.
  • They did experimental procedures, for the time, such as heart transplants on dogs.

She quit her job and began staying home to take care of her children after her time at MCV, Research: During the 1950s it was not common for a woman to attend college, it especially uncommon for them to study science. In this time period, only 1.2% of women in America went to college, so the amount that would pursue a career in science would be almost 0%.

  • There was a belief that m any women during this time attended college in order to find a husband, rather than obtain an education.
  • This led to many women facing discriminatation since people felt women were in college for the ‘wrong’ reasons.
  • However, m any women, such as my grandmother, still became educated in order to enter their desired field after college.

Hammond, K. (2019, April 9). American Women in the 50s. Retrieved February 17, 2020, from https://www.theclassroom.com/american-women-50s-9170.html “Mrs. America: Women’s Roles in the 1950s.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/pill-mrs-america-womens-roles-1950s/.

  • Interview Transcription: Carter Gilbert: Ready? Describe it was like to be in college as a woman during an era when it was not that common.
  • Barbara Anderson: Well in the in the 50s there were only about 5% of the people in the in America that went to college as it was, and college was mainly for the bright and the wealthy and the ambitious.

But in those days, you got to remember that college was very inexpensive. I paid $500 for a semester at a private college and you could probably with room and board spend between 1500 and $2,000 for college, and I went to a predominantly girls school, West Hampton was part of the University of Richmond, and the classes that I had were mainly with girls on that campus.

  1. But, since I was a chemistry major, all of my science classes were on the University of Richmond side.
  2. And they were mainly all those classes were male dominated classes, I would say I was maybe one or two girls in all of those classes, biology, physics, and chemistry, they were very few girls who were into major sciences in those days.

Carter Gilbert: So, would you say that you were treated differently than the male classmates in your classes? Or? Barbara Anderson: No, I was not treated any differently Carter Gilbert: Okay Barbara Anderson: No. Carter Gilbert: And then were your professors mainly male or female and did this matter? Barbara Anderson: On the W est Hampton campus where the girls were, they were mainly women teachers, and at the University of Richmond, especially in the sciences.

  • They were all male.
  • And also, in philosophy, they were male.
  • So, on that campus, the the men’s campus they were 99% me n teachers and, on the girls, they were women teachers.
  • Carter Gilbert: So why did you choose to major in chemistry? Barbara Anderson: I came from a medical background, my father being a physician.

And at the time my brother was in medical school. So of course, I heard a lot that went on in my household with scientific terms and all kinds of things. And I always loved science, even in high school. I love science. And chemistry was my major that was my favorite subject in school.

So I think it’s because of my background with a medical background. I sort of fell into it. Carter Gilbert: Okay. What were the social expectations of a woman in the 1950s in college? Barbara Anderson: Well Believe it or not, in college, a lot of women, a lot of girls start smoking. And that was very unusual because this this day in time, you I dare say you would have detail men from tobacco companies coming to the campuses and offering free cigarettes.

So when we were all playing bridge, in our free time, which is what we mostly did between classes, the they would offer us free cigarettes and that’s how a lot of girls got started smoking and for activities, what we enjoy doing, we like to play tennis.

  1. We like to go bowling.
  2. There were separate clubs in Richmond on Broad Street, where we used to go dancing, and in that particular era, the twist was the popular dance and so we would go on the weekends dancing.
  3. And we did not have sororities in our school.
  4. We had class spirit.
  5. We had con song contest between the classes to unify the school, but we did not have sororities.

Carter Gilbert: Did you have a dress code? Barbara Anderson: We did have a dress code. In those days we had a dress code that the girls could only wear skirts and dresses to class. In a since I was majoring in chemistry, I was allowed to wear slacks, On a Saturday when I had chemistry or physics lab, I was allowed to wear slacks, but we were not allowed to wear them during the day to classes.

  • We usually wore pencil skirts and twin sweater set and we wore Weejuns, penny loafers, socks.
  • We were very conservative in those days very conservative dress.
  • Carter Gilbert: What would happen if you broke the dress code? Barbara Anderson: We had a very strict dean of students.
  • And if she saw you on campus, not only with the dress code, but with, say you were sitting next to a boy on a bench and you had your hand on his leg, you would get he would get called to the office, very strict, very strict code.

Carter Gilbert: So, you couldn’t communicate with boys very often, like what about in the dorms. Barbara Anderson: The boys were not allowed at all into the girls’ dorms. For a date the girl had to come downstairs to the little little parlor there and the boy would meet her there.

And during the week you had to be in at 11pm and I think set Saturdays you could stay up till midnight. Very strict. Carter Gilbert: Was getting a job after college difficult because of your gender. Barbara Anderson: I had no problem getting a job after college. Most kids, if they had a bachelor’s degree, could find a pretty good job in those days and make pretty good money.

I had no problem getting a job in the medical field whatsoever. I started working down at MCV, and I could have picked any job I wanted. I had a lot of opportunities, no problem whatsoever. Carter Gilbert: Was your job just as important as an equal like male job do you think, or do you think it was more menial tasks that you were doing? Barbara Anderson: I think that even in that day in time, it was equal, e qual Pay and equal.

Equal job. I never noticed any difference if there were Carter Gilbert: Just because there were so few people in the field do you think. Barbara Anderson: Yeah, we were there was so few girls in the field, so I really didn’t notice it at all. Carter Gilbert: And then after you had children, did you want to continue working? Barbara Anderson: No.

After I had started my family, my husband wanted me to stay home and raise the children. So it was more or less his decision as well as mine, that in those days and times after a woman got married and started a family 99% of all the women stayed home.

There were very few two income families in my era. All my friends stayed home after the after they had their family. Carter Gilbert: But that didn’t bother you. You were happy staying? I was I Barbara Anderson: Yes, I was happy then because I had worked for a fairly long time. Carter Gilbert: How long did you work for? Barbara Anderson: Let’s see.8 years Carter Gilbert: And you worked at MCV the entire time? Barbara Anderson: Yes.

Carter Gilbert: Cool. What did you do there? More specifically? Barbara Anderson: I was in a cardiovascular research lab, I ran a cardiovascular research lab and worked for several doctors. We did experiments. We did experiments on heart transplant. That was before heart transplants came in.

And we would work on animals transplanting hearts, in animals. And we worked with Dr. Lauer. When he came over from California. He brought his heart transplanted dogs and we tested rejection drugs on them and then went to Pensacola Florida. Study with NASA Havana down there that Naval Air Station went to Bethesda Maryland.

We did a lot of experiments; different places and I enjoyed every bit of it. Very a lot of fun. Carter Gilbert: Is there anything else you have to say about your college experience? Maybe your work experience that you think is interesting. Barbara Anderson: I think it’s interesting that there were very little politics in those days as far as all we did was go to class.

  • We had books that we learned went to the library to study.
  • The teachers wrote on blackboards with chalk.
  • Very no social media.
  • But it was a very simple type of life I think I would consider and very little stress not like today because in those days, if you got through college, everybody could get a good job you didn’t have to, in your field, their job in your field, good professional job.

In other words, you didn’t have to at first graduate and then maybe do waiting. Wait, waitressing or Wait, wait or waiting, you know, tables in restaurants or pick up a different job before you got into your field. Today I think you have to go further with the BA doesn’t get us far as it did in those days that got you quite far.

And it was a simple time and fun time and I enjoyed every, every minute of my college life in the 50s. Carter Gilbert: That’s great. Well, thank you so much. I Appreciate it. Barbara Anderson: You’re welcome. Conclusion: I conducted this interview in person at my house. My grandmother came over before lunch and we recorded the inter view using my phone as the recording device.

I did not have to edit the recording at all as the interview went smoothly for most of the duration. The main obstacle I had to overcome was keeping her on topic when we spoke before the interview she seems on topic, however during and especially after she seemed to lose focus.
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When did Harvard let girls in?

Harvard’s graduate schools have their own gender histories. The Harvard Graduate School of Education was the first to admit women in 1920. The Harvard Medical School accepted its first female enrollees in 1945, although a woman had first applied almost 100 years earlier, in 1847.
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When were girls allowed to go to Harvard?

Harvard’s history with women is indeed complicated, said historian Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz Monday at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, In a talk titled “It’s Complicated: 375 Years of Women at Harvard,” the professor emerita of history and American studies at Smith College examined the University’s shifting gender landscape, contending that while the Harvard of today has much to celebrate in regards to women, it still has room to improve.

  1. The lecture took shape as Harvard President Drew Faust and Radcliffe Dean Lizabeth Cohen discussed how the Radcliffe Institute could, said Cohen, “make an intellectual contribution” to commemorate Harvard’s 375th anniversary.
  2. Just as important to the two historians, said Cohen, “was how the history of women at Harvard might be well represented in the course of the anniversary year.” Faust offered opening remarks at Monday’s event, saying that the past 100 years can be seen as “a narrative of progress” for women at Harvard.

Horowitz’s talk, she said, offered “important and enduring lessons for Harvard” — about how change happens, and about how those committed to learning and opportunity “can make their way into a world that comes increasingly to accept and embrace them.” Women’s exclusion from the University began “as a part of the social order of the time,” said Horowitz, one that went largely unquestioned by both men and women and that was connected to both “tradition and privilege.” Established in 1636 to educate an all-male clergy, Harvard by the 18 th century had developed into a college to educate the “sons of the arriving mercantile elite.” During the industrial revolution of the 19th century, Boston bluebloods and Harvard, she said, “rose together.” The first women to knock at Harvard’s doors came from the middle class, typically schoolteachers looking for extra instruction in the sciences.

But they were merely “thrown crumbs,” such as access to lectures or labs, said Horowitz. When a group of powerful women, including Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, widow of the famous Harvard scientist Louis Agassiz, founded the Women’s Education Association of Boston, in 1872, and sought to gain the entrance of women into Harvard, it was met with steady resistance.

“We were told not to disturb the present system of education which is the result of the experience and wisdom of the past,” read Horowitz from the group’s records. She noted that at the time both Harvard President Charles William Eliot and the Harvard Corporation were “deeply opposed” to allowing women into Harvard.

  1. Eliot, Faust remarked in her 2004 essay titled “Mingling Promiscuously: A History of Women and Men at Harvard,” “established his position in his inaugural address, declaring that the policing of hundreds of young men and women of marriageable age would be impossible.
  2. He had doubts, moreover, about what he called the ‘natural mental capacities’ of the female sex.” But the association, said Horowitz, would not be deterred.

They turned to an innovative solution, developing an institution of their own, one located near Harvard that would offer female students instruction by Harvard professors, “the same courses they taught men in the Yard.” The “Harvard Annex” opened its doors in 1879.

  1. By 1890 more than 200 women were being taught by 70 men.
  2. Yet Agassiz continued to push for more.
  3. In 1894, Radcliffe College was granted an official charter by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
  4. Agassiz was its first president.
  5. Faust, Harvard’s Lincoln Professor of History, described the new college in her 2004 paper.

Radcliffe, she wrote, represented a “compromise between what women wanted and what Harvard would give them, as an alternative to the two prevailing models of coeducation and separate women’s institutions. Radcliffe College would educate women by contracting with individual Harvard faculty to provide instruction, would offer its own diplomas, to be countersigned by Harvard’s president, and would be subjected in academic matters to the supervision of ‘visitors’ from Harvard.” Yet though women were making significant inroads, they were still set apart from Harvard, a separation that may have come with unseen costs, said Horowitz.

  1. What does it mean to a woman student that there are no female models?” she wondered.
  2. For better or worse,” said Horowitz, “professors are models, as well as inspirers.” A more complex picture emerged Harvard’s graduate Schools.
  3. The Harvard Graduate School of Education was the first to admit women in 1920.

Harvard Medical School accepted its first female enrollees in 1945 — though a woman first applied almost 100 years earlier, in 1847. Women began petitioning Harvard Law School for admittance in 1871. The School opened its doors in 1950, but that was 20 years behind most law schools in the country, said Horowitz.

The author and former Radcliffe fellow even offered her own experience with Harvard’s “complicated” approach to women. When she was denied acceptance to Harvard’s graduate program in history in 1962, she protested her rejection to Dean Kirby-Miller, the recently displaced dean of the Radcliffe Graduate School.

Kirby-Miller agreed that she had been discriminated against, then promptly refused to take her case, telling Horowitz “she had lost two better ones in the last week.” Horowitz ultimately received both her master’s and doctorate degrees from Harvard in American civilization in 1965 and 1969 In 1963, Harvard degrees were awarded to Radcliffe students for the first time.

In 1967, Lamont Library allowed women access. In 1975, the two Colleges merged their admissions. In 1977, “a critical date,” Harvard’s ratio of four men to one woman ended with “sex-blind admissions.” In 1999, Radcliffe officially merged with Harvard, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study was born.

“Moving an institution towards equity turns out to be hard work,” said Horowitz. Harvard has made great progress, she said. Of the 16 members of the Harvard Council of Deans, seven are women, and women also hold many other top administrative posts at the University, she said.

While the faculty still strives for greater diversity, what’s important to remember, said Horowitz, is that the University has a “clear tenure track system” in place, which offers women a road in. Still, other changes are needed if women are to be convinced to stay at Harvard, and other academic institutions, long enough to pursue tenure — specifically, changes in regards to starting a family and caregiving.

“To achieve equity requires that educational institutions provide women with a wide range of services and a flexible career clock, enabling the balance of working and caregiving. To be gender blind about this, is to be blind about the reality of many women’s lives.” When Did Higher Education For Women Begin In England President Drew Faust offered opening remarks at the event, saying that the past 100 years can be seen as “a narrative of progress” for women at Harvard.
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When did Yale accept female students?

November 1968 – The Yale Corporation secretly votes in favor of full coeducation, or accepting women into Yale College, in the fall of 1969. On November 4th, Coeducation week commences.750 women from 22 colleges arrive on campus. In the middle of the week, students hold a spontaneous rally, Marching to President Brewster’s home to demand full coeducation.

  1. On November 14th, President Brewster announces his coeducation plan to the faculty, who vote 200 to 1 in favor of coeducation.
  2. Brewster walks straight from Connecticut Hall to the Trumbull College Dining Hall to announce to the students that Yale will be coeducational by the next fall.
  3. When he asks the Trumbull men to cede their college to the 250 incoming freshman women, the men refuse.

They demand that the women be divided equally among the colleges. The next day, President Brewster announces publicly that Yale will enroll 500 women next September – 250 freshmen and 250 transfer students. At the time, he states that the transfer students will be housed off- campus while freshmen will be housed in one of the 12 residential colleges.

  1. However, the Office on the Coeducation of Women ultimately decides to place the freshmen women in Vanderbilt Hall and to house transfer women in one entryway in each of the colleges.
  2. Brewster announces that the Planning Committee on Coeducation will be chaired by Elga Wasserman, Assistant Dean of the Graduate School.

On teaching all-male classes: “Until society makes its role assignments equal, I can’t help feeling a deeper satisfaction and sense of accomplishment teaching all-male classes. As a professor, I feel a greater sense of accomplishment when I direct my efforts toward those who will one day have a greater role in society—men.” (A professor anonymously quoted in the Yale Daily News, 11-8-68.) The “critical mass” in terms of the distribution of women throughout the colleges is determined by the Planning Committee on Coeducation to be 50 women per college, composed of 30 transfers and 20 freshwomen.
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When were women allowed to attend universities in Europe?

In 1867 the University of Zurich became the first in Central Europe to admit women as matriculated students. Austrian and German universities began to admit women around the turn of the twentieth century.
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When did Oxford university allow female students?

On 7 October 1920, the matriculation of the first 130 women took place in the Divinity School. Although by 1920 women had been studying at Oxford for decades, this date marks the first time that they could take their degrees.
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Did women go to college in the 60s?

Women, Marriage, Education, and Occupation in the United States from 1940-2000 Introduction: Question: From 1940-2000, how did women’s involvement in higher education shift, and what influenced it? Women’s participation in higher education increased in the 1960s and 1970s.

  • Why? What factors influenced this trend from 1940 to 2000 and beyond? Starting in 1979, more women have been enrolled in higher education than men in the United States (Touchton, 50).
  • In 2014, 30.2% of women had a bachelor’s degree, compared to 29.9% of men (Feeney).
  • Women’s participation in higher education has been and continues to be influenced by many factors, including race, social norms, and marriage status.

The Civil Rights Movement in the United States fueled the feminist movement as well. Women demanded equal rights in education on the basis that equality for all in education and under the law should include women of all races as well, not just men of all races.

Like the fight against systemic racism, the fight against sexism, especially in higher education and the workplace, remains a difficult battle because the idea of the women’s role in the home and as a caretaker was deeply ingrained in United States society. The 1940s and 1950s marked periods of decreased female employment, due to the post-War economic boom and return of men home from war.

However, starting in earnest in the 1950s, the “emphasis on homemaking as women’s primary role was slowly destabilized by a shift in private preferences toward a greater emphasis on careers” (Jones, 282). Teaching, a profession popular amongst women, was a good gateway for women entering other fields because it helped open people to the idea of women with careers.

The distinction between careers and jobs is an important distinction to make in understanding the increase in women’s higher education in the United States in the second half of the 20th century. Having career aspirations was a relatively new concept for women. Previously, men attended college in the hopes of pursuing a career, and therefore throughout the 1960s and 1970s, “the enrollment of men remained relatively constant” (Touchton, 50).

Women at Cambridge: Women’s struggle for education

Women were expected to remain in the home and raise children, which was work, but not a career. Jobs are temporary and do not have a distinct future, but a career is a path in which individuals build on their experiences to create a holistic story: “a job has limits a career, in contrast, requires commitment of energy and spirit” (Jones, 251).

  1. In addition, an increase in divorce and an overall decrease in the rate of marriage compelled women to seek self-sufficiency.
  2. A college education provides a higher probability of an economically stable future and occupation.
  3. This trend toward higher education to generate a dependent future income and occupation, specifically for White women, mirrored the pre-existing pressures on minority women to secure an occupation and income.

Due to discrimination, women of different races could not rely solely on husband’s income to support a family as was a trend for the large portion of White families in the 1940s through the 1970s. Jones states, “you were not going to raise a family on one Black man’s salary” (Jones, 256).

For example, “90% of Black college and university women” in 1955 were attending higher education to prepare for an occupation (Jones, 250). The same could not be said of many White women overall, with whom it was frequently a goal to meet a husband through college or before college. Britney Nicole Gilmore’s piece also investigates the role of race and culture in educational attainment in “Hispanic Women’s Higher Education Experiences.” She investigates the hypothesis that Hispanic culture specifically influences Hispanic women and their decision making process when considering higher education.

She argues that Hispanic women’s lower participation rate in higher education was not only a result of discrimination. She argues, “the belief to be more involved in family possibly becomes overwhelming for Hispanic women,” contributing to lower percentages of Hispanic women earning college degrees compared to other race groups (Gilmore, 9).

My research has revealed many deeper causes of increased higher education in women, varying distinctly by race. Although it is true that the social norms of marriage had a large impact on women’s participation in higher education in the United States in the second half of the 20th century, many other factors were highly influential as well.

Race and occupational aspirations impacted the growing trend seen in women’s higher education. Social norms opened the floodgates to women pursuing college degrees in the 1960s and 1970s. Data and Methods: The data for all figures are from the census data available on IPUMS, the Integrated Public-Use Microdata Series.

It was extracted from IPUMS 1% samples for the years 1940-2000 in the United States; however, for the year 1970 the 1% State Form was used, and for 1980, the 1% Metro Form was used. Women under the age of 22 were filtered out to isolate the college-aged and possible college-graduate population of females.

Figure 1 is a line graph that visualizes the percent of women with a college degree by race. Using the EDUCD variable, anyone with 4 years of college or more is considered as having a degree, and anyone with less than 4 years of college is considered as not having a degree.

Married’ denotes any woman ever married, and ‘Unmarried’ denotes any woman never married. Because race and ethnicity are separate variables, I used the HISPAN and RACESING variables to identify if someone was Hispanic and if not to use the single race variable to place them into an IPUMS race category.

The race categories are Hispanic, White, Black, Native American, Asian, and Other. The ‘Other’ category was filtered out due to inconsistency. Code for this visualization available on, Figure 2 shows a bar graph of the marriage rate by race for women. I again used the HISPAN and RACESING variables to create race categories.

  • The race categories are Hispanic, White, Black, Native American, Asian, and Other with the ‘Other’ category filtered out due to inconsistency.
  • The same qualifications for the ‘Married’ and ‘Unmarried’ as well as the ‘Degree’ and ‘No Degree’ as Figure 1 categories were used.
  • Code for this visualization available on,

Figures 3-9 show maps of the United States, broken down by state. These maps visualize the percent of women holding college degrees by birth state for each year, 1940-2000. The variables BPL and STATEFIP were used to link women to their state of birth on the map.

  1. Code for this visualization available on,
  2. Figure 10 shows a bar graph of the percent of divorced women for each year.
  3. The percent of divorced women was calculated by dividing the number of divorced women by the total number of women in each year.
  4. Code for this visualization available on,
  5. Figure 11 shows a bar graph of the percent of women holding college degrees for each year, again using the EDUCD variable to determine degree-holders.

The percent of women holding degrees was calculated by dividing the number of women holding degrees by the total number of women in each year. Code for this visualization available on, Figure 12 visualizes the occupation of women by race and year. Using the OCC-1950 variable, which creates occupation categories consistent with the 1950 census, I created 6 occupation variables: none, farm and farm laborers, craftsmen/ operatives/laborers, managerial/clerical/sales, service, and professional.

The graph is grouped by race like figures 1 and 2, and again the ‘Other’ category was filtered out. Code for this visualization available on, Visualizations: Figure 1 – Percent of Women over 22 with a College Degree by Race, 1940-2000 Figure 2 – Marriage Rate by Race for Women over 22 Figures 3 – Percent of Women Holding College Degrees by Birth State, 1940 Figures 4 – Percent of Women Holding College Degrees by Birth State, 1950 Figures 5 – Percent of Women Holding College Degrees by Birth State, 1960 Figures 6 – Percent of Women Holding College Degrees by Birth State, 1970 Figures 7 – Percent of Women Holding College Degrees by Birth State, 1980 Figures 8 – Percent of Women Holding College Degrees by Birth State, 1990 Figures 9 – Percent of Women Holding College Degrees by Birth State, 2000 Figure 10 – Percent of Divorced Women in the United States, 1940-2000 Figure 11 – Percent of Women Holding College Degrees in the United States, 1940-2000 Figure 12 – Occupation of Women Over 22 by Race, 1940-2000 Results and Discussion: Figure 1 shows the percent of women over 22 with a college degree by race from 1940-2000.

Asian women consistently have a higher percent of degree-holders in both the married and unmarried categories, with White women holding the second highest percent in each year for 6 of the 7 years shown. Hispanic, Black, and Native American women have the lower percentages of college degree holders in both categories, married and unmarried, for each year.

Overall, more unmarried women hold college degrees than married women. This reflects the work of Stacey Jones, who argues that as social norms tended toward marrying later or not marrying at all, women sought education more and more as a route to reliable income and self-sufficiency. For both White and Asian women, the percent of unmarried women with college degrees is over 10% higher than married women.

Figure 2 shows the marriage rate by race for women from 1940-2000. For Hispanic, White, and Asian women, the marriage rate peaked in 1960 but hovers around 80% for every year shown in the data. The marriage rate for White women is the most stable after the 1960 peak.

However, the marriage rate of Black women dramatically drops below 75% after 1950. This is the only race category that drops below the 75% mark in any year. A decreasing marriage rate correlates with and increase in women’s seeking higher education and careers. From “1977 to 1987, the enrollment of women increased by 20%” (Touchton, 50).

Figures 3-9 show maps of the United States with the percent of women holding college degrees by birth state for the years 1940-2000. The progression of the maps shows the overall increase in women holding college degrees in the United States for the time period.

The Northeast and the West Coast, specifically California, Washington, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, have the most consistently high percentage of women holding college degrees relative to other states of birth, showing that region of birth influences the likelihood that a woman pursues and earns a college degree.

Figure 10 shows the percent of divorced women and Figure 11 shows the percent of women holding college degrees in the United States from 1940-2000. Together, these two graphs show the correlation between the increasing frequency of divorce and an increase in the percent of college-educated women.

Tian Yanfeng summarizes this phenomenon: “the higher the divorce rate, the greater number of women are exposed to increasing deprivation and uncertainty. Consequently, they are motivated to seek alternatives to reduce their uncertainties” (Yanfeng, 4). College is one such route to reduce the uncertainty of the future.

The increased prevalence of divorce was one factor in eliminating the traditional, societal idea that men can be depended on to provide lifelong financial support, driving women to seek their own career paths and steady sources of income. A college education can provide this future stability.

  1. Figure 12 shows the percent of women in different occupation categories by race for the years 1940-2000 in the United States.
  2. For all race categories, there is a decrease in women without an occupation and an increase in women in the professional segment.
  3. In the 1950s and 1960s, “college and university women themselves had limited career ambitions, reflecting the ‘climate of unexpectation’ in the country” (Jones, 262).

Hispanic, Black, and Native American women have a smaller percent of women in the professional segment than White and Asian women. Furthermore, more White women are unoccupied than Black women, to an especially significant degree in 1950 and 1960, showing that “full-time homemaking was an unaffordable luxury,” for many race groups (Jones, 256).

The percent of women in the service industry is especially higher for Black women than women in other race categories, specifically in the years 1960 and 1970. The different occupational trends for race groups capture the varying but perpetual social norms, expectations, and limits imposed on women of different races in the second half of the twentieth century.

Conclusion: Women’s role in higher education was not only influenced by the availability of higher education opportunities through the opening-up of colleges and universities across the country, but also greater societal forces were highly influential.

Cultural norms and the changing nature of marriage as well as racial discrimination and racial variation impacted women’s enrollment in and completion of college. To sum the trend of women in higher education to one factor overlooks various important influences. Furthermore, although women as a group overall experienced an increase in levels of higher education, each group of women, by race, marriage status, and region of birth, experienced the phenomenon in a unique way with unique influences.

Bibliography: Drucker, Joshua, “Reconsidering the Regional Economic Development Impacts of Higher Education Institutions in the United States” (Chicago: University of Illinois at Chicago, October, 2014) Faragher, John Mack and Florence Howe, Women and Higher Education in American History: Essays from the Mount Holyoke College Sesquicentennial Symposia (New York: W.W.

Feeney, Noah, “Women are Now More Likely to Have College Degrees than Men,” Time, http://time.com/4064665/women-college-degree/Gilmore, Britney Nicole, “Hispanic Women’s Higher Education Experiences: An Examination of the Influence of Culture and Family” (Austin State University: December 2013).Jones, Stacey, “Dynamic Social Norms and the Unexpected Transformation of Women’s Higher Education,” Social Science History 33:3 (Fall 2009): 247-291.Tian, Yanfeng, “Divorce, Gender Role, and Higher Education Expansion” Higher Education 32:1 (July 1996): 1-22.Touchton, Judith and Lynne Davis, Fact Book on Women in Higher Education (New York: Macmillan 1991)

: Women, Marriage, Education, and Occupation in the United States from 1940-2000
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When did Cambridge start accept female students?

When Did Higher Education For Women Begin In England Image source, Sian Collins Image caption, Rockets were set off in protests against female students in the late 19th Century Fragments of eggshells and fireworks thrown at female students are among items at an exhibition to mark 150 years since they were first allowed to study at Cambridge University.

  • Women were first admitted to Girton College in 1869 but it was not until 1948 that they were awarded degrees.
  • The Rising Tide: Women at Cambridge tells the stories of the struggles and successes of female students, academics and staff through the years.
  • The exhibition opens next month.
  • Co-curator Dr Lucy Delap said the exhibition would showcase the “persistent marginalisation” of women at the university and their “ongoing campaigns for gender justice”.

Image source, Getty Images Image caption, A sea of male undergraduates protesting at a vote to allow women to gain degrees at Cambridge in 1897 “From the founding of the first women’s college to the present day, the experience of women at Cambridge has differed greatly from their male counterparts,” she said.

Although the establishment of Girton College – the UK’s first residential university establishment for women – gave them the opportunity to study, they had to ask permission to attend lectures and were not allowed to sit exams without special permission. Image source, Girton College Image caption, Domestic staff at Girton College, photographed in 1908 The 400 pages of a petition demanding women be allowed to take degrees will also be on display.

Surviving fragments of eggshells and fireworks illustrating the violent opposition to giving women degrees during a vote on the subject in 1897 will be on show alongside a note written by undergraduates apologising for damage done to women’s college Newnham during a riot in 1921.
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