education heading



“Go where no one else will go,
do what no one else will do."

– Mary Lyon

Until recently, women have largely been excluded from the educational system.  It may surprise you to know that while Harvard opened in 1636, the first college to admit women did not do so for another 200 years. Women did not begin attending college in equal numbers to men until as recently as 1980.  Education is something that women today often take for granted and they do not think about all of the hard work it took to attain the right to education.  In the past, women with little education often believed that they were not capable of things like participating in politics, having a career or even owning property.  Women who were lucky enough to have received a quality education were more likely to be pioneers in civic activism and make history.  By understanding the history of women’s education one is able to better appreciate how far we have come and the extraordinary women who got us here. 




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Emma Willard

But reason and religion teach that we too are primary existences ... the companions, not the satellites of men, ... Education should seek to bring its subject to the perfection of their moral, intellectual, and physical nature ... in order that they may be the means of the greatest possible happiness of which they are capable, both as to what they enjoy and what they communicate." 
-- Emma Willard (above)






(c) Copyright National Women's History Museum, 2007