1st Edition

Women, Education, and Agency, 1600–2000

Edited By Jean Spence, Sarah Aiston, Maureen M. Meikle Copyright 2010
    296 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    296 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This collection of essays brings together an international roster of contributors to provide historical insight into women’s agency and activism in education throughout from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. Topics discussed range from the strategies adopted by individual women to achieve a personal education and the influence of educated women upon their social environment, to the organized efforts of groups of women to pursue broader feminist goals in an educational context.

    The collection is designed to recover the variety of the voices of women inhabiting different geographical and social contexts while highlighting commonality and continuity with reference to creativity, achievement, and the management and transgression of structures of gender inequality.


    By Carol Dyhouse



    Chapter One: Women, Education and Agency, 1600-2000: An Historical Perspective

    By Sarah Jane Aiston

    Chapter Two: Self-Tutition and the Intellectual Achievement of Early Modern Women: Anna Maria van Schurman (1607-1678)

    By Barbara Bulckaert

    Chapter Three: Women and Agency: The Educational Legacy of Mary Wollstonecraft

    By Joyce Senders Pedersen

    Chapter Four: Scientific Women: Their Contribution to Culture in England in the Late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

    By Ruth Watts

    Chapter Five: Ramabai and Rokeya: The History of Gendered Social Capital in India

    By Barnita Bagchi

    Chapter Six: Russian Women in European Universities, 1864-1900

    By Marianna Muravyeva

    Chapter Seven: ‘Knowledge as the Necessary Food of the Mind’: Charlotte Mason’s Philosophy of Education

    By Stephanie Spencer

    Chapter Eight: A Woman’s Challenge: The Voice of Sukufe Nihal in the Modernisation of Turkey

    By Aynur Soydan Erdemir

    Chapter Nine: Femininity and Mathematics at Cambridge circa 1900

    By Claire Jones

    Chapter Ten: Thinking Women: International Education for Peace and Equality, 1918-1930

    By Katherine Storr

    Chapter Eleven: London’s Feminist Teachers and the Urban Political Landscape

    By Jane Martin

    Chapter Twelve: Feminist Criminology in Britain c.1920-1960: Education, Agency and Activism outside the Academy

    By Anne Logan

    Chapter Thirteen: Thinking Feminist in 1963: Challenges from Betty Friedan and the U.S. President’s Commission on the Status of Women

    By Linda Eisenmann

    Chapter Fourteen: ‘Enhancing the quality of the educational experience’: Female Activists and U.S. University and College Women’s Centres

    By Sylvia Ellis and Helen Mitchell


    About the Editors

    About the Contributors



    Sarah Jane Aiston is a lecturer in the Centre for Learning, Teaching and Research in Higher Education, School of Education, Durham University. She has an interest in the history of women in higher education and has recently published within this field in 20th Century British History, History of Education and Women's History Review.

    Maureen Meikle is a senior lecturer in early modern history in the School of Arts, Design, Media & Culture, University of Sunderland. Her research interests include early modern Scottish Women and Queen Anna of Denmark (1574-1619). She edited, with Elizabeth Ewan, Women in Scotland, c. 1100-c, 1750 (2000).

    Jean Spence is a lecturer in Community and Youth Work in the School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University. Her research interests include the history and practice of informal educational approaches, youth work with girls and young women, and gender relations in mining communities. She has recently published in these fields within Women’s History Review; Community, Work and Family, Sociological Research Online, and Youth and Policy. She is a co-editor and contributing author to a series of collected essays published by the National Youth Agency relating to the history of Youth and Community Work.

    “The theme of women’s agency is inspiring… This collection is a valuable
    addition to the Routledge Research in Gender and History series, as well as a
    valid assertion of the role of women in educational history.”
    - Jane McDermid, European History Quarterly