The 'Girl Question' in Education (RLE Edu F): Vocational Education for Young Women in the Progressive Era, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The 'Girl Question' in Education (RLE Edu F)

Vocational Education for Young Women in the Progressive Era, 1st Edition

By Jane Bernard-Powers


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This book is a history of the genesis and development of vocational education for young women in the United States. Home economics, trade training and commercial education – the three key areas of vocational training available to young women during the progressive era – are the focus of this work. Beginning with a study of the "woman question", or what women were supposed to be, the book traces the three curriculum areas from prescription, through lively discussions of policy to the actual programs and student responses to the programs. The author tells the story of education for work from several different perspectives and draws on a vast array of sources to paint this broad canvas of vocational education for young women at the turn of the twentieth century.


‘With few exceptions, historians of vocationalism have followed the lead of the pioneers in the filed by neglecting girls. But now in this insightful and important book, Jane Bernard Powers illuminates the other side of the story…a timely and significant contribution to the literature of educational history and women’s history.’ David B Tyack, Stanford University, USA.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1 Beginnings Part 1 Prescription and Myth 2 Home Economics: A Panacea for Reform 3 Trade Education for the Woman Who Toils 4 Commercial Education for the Office ‘Girl’ Part 2 Politics 5 Feminist Politics and Personalities Influence Smith-Hughes Legislation 6 Congressional Politics and the Home Economics Lobby 7 Post Smith-Hughes Politics Part Three Curricular Programs and Practice 8 Home Economics: A ‘Definitely Womanly Curriculum’ 9 ‘Hat, Hats, Pins, Pins’: Trade Education and the Schools 10 The Success of Commercial Education 11 Meanings Plates Index.

About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: Education

Routledge Library Editions: Education consists of 244 volumes by some of the greatest educationalists, teaching professionals and policy makers of the twentieth century. The volumes are available in a set; in mini-sets themed by sub-discipline; or individually, in your choice of print or ebook.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Philosophy & Social Aspects