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History of Women in Society

In: Historical Events

Submitted By moaheki
Words 1589
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Writer Hester Eisenstein, claim that Feminism or feminist thoughts is traceable back to the fifteenth century and also to earlier times, such as the age of Sappho. However, it is mainly observed from the mid 1960’s and 70’s, when the organised women’s movement began to revitalise itself and make a statement, that feminist perspectives began to influence the outpouring of publications on women history and female education. (Purvis June 1985). This piece of work is taken from the document written about Medieval Education in England. It shows that what little education given was mainly received by boys and girls hardly ever got any sort of education or as little as possible, instead they where to stay at home and learn home keeping. My commentary is focused on the history of women from the Roman to Medieval times.

Except for a few exceptions, all Roman women were for their entire lives subject to some degree of limitation on the capacity for independent legal actions. (Jane Gardner 1986). Authority to act must either be obtained from, or was ordered by a man, which could either be a father, husband or guardian. For girls, puberty was written in law, and a girl is said to have reached it at the age of twelve, and to be of marriageable age at 12 and sometimes before they actually reach puberty. A woman married with Manus (creation) was effectively in the position of an adopted daughter and a part of the family, she had no legal independence and no independent property but however, a wife in a free marriage was legally independent of her husband. (Jane Gardner 1986). The extent of women’s direct involvement in Roman economic life is hard to determine, women could own property and were free to administer it themselves, subject only to tutorial consent for certain transactions, and there is proof of frequent involvement in buying, selling, leasing and other activities. Women are better asserted in certain professional jobs, for example midwives were mainly women. Several female scribes and secretaries are known and some jobs such as masseuses, dress makers and attendants seem to have been performed entirely by women. There is also evidence that women from the upper classes where sometimes involved in politics.
(Atkins and Hoggett 1984).

Victorian society was clearly stratified by social class and the different experiences of men and women in different social classes where different but in all classes women in comparison with men, were second class citizens. (Davidoff and Hall 1987). In late 1860’s a mother advised her readers that a woman’s life must be one of self abnegation since man was not made to minister to women and women was made for man, namely that women were inferior and subordinate to man and self sacrificing, especially in household was required; thus femininity became identified with domesticity, service to others, subordination and weakness while masculinity was associated with life in the competitive world of paid work, strength and domination. (Purvis June 1991). This differed form the Roman women in that while woman where not considered as property in later times, they play more role in the running of the household than Roman women. In politics and running of the state affairs, women had no place except the monarch, even women from the upper classes where not included and education was only given to boys in Roman times but some girls where eventually allowed an education during the period of 1800-1914 in Medieval England.

A working class girl might attend any range of educational institutions. These included dame schools, Sunday schools, charity schools, factory school, ragged schools, day schools run by the church and day board schools founded after the 1870 Education Act. By 1851, formal schooling was the experience of only a few working class girls living in rural areas, whether a working class girl attended school or not was related to the material and domestic situation of her parents. The curriculum usually included reading, spelling (in some schools) and perhaps sewing and knitting. (Burstyn J 1980). The education of middle class girls was usually carefully segregated from the schooling of working class girls and seen as “superior” or more prestigious in comparison with the options available to the lower working class order of society. Throughout the Victorian era, middle class girls were taught mainly at home and/or a small private school managed by middle class ladies. The gender differentiation in the form of education for middle class girls and middle class boys was justified in terms of the different futures expected of women and men. While middle class boys should be prepared for the professional and public world, their sisters should be educated for a home life. The first important attempt to provide some form of higher education for women came with the foundation of Queen’s college in 1848 in Harley Street, London. (June Purvis 1991).

Reference list.
Atkins, A. and Hoggett, B., 1984. Women and the Law. London: Routledge.

Burstyn, J., 1908. Victorian Education and the Ideal of Womanhood. London: Croom Helm.

Davidoff, L. and Hall, C., 1987. Family Fortunes, Men and Women of the English Middle Class 1780-1850. London: Hutchinson

Gardner, F, Jane., 1986. Women in Roman Law and Society. London: Routledge.

Purvis, June., 1985. A Feminist Perspective on the History of Women’s Education. In Purvis June, ed. The Education of Girls and Women. Leicester: History of Education Society.

Purvis, June., 1991. A History of Women’s Education in England. Philadelphia: Open University Press.

Stone, L., 1977. The Family, Sex and Marriage in England 1500-1800. London: Abridged.


The documents included in this portfolio are
1: Materials from a library research done on Education in Medieval England.
2: Presentation Power Point and Feedback sheet on the Educational curriculum and Discipline in Medieval England.
3: A seminar activity sheet on using the Harvard referencing system.
4: Lecture notes on the Context of Education.
5: Free writing Grammar exercise.

I carried out a library research on Medieval Education in England which contained information relevant to a group presentation in SKI seminar. The documents I found online for the topic varied widely and it was easy for me to find as I was already familiar with using the internet to search for information. However most of the documents I found where not relevant because I had learned previously that not all articles found online especially information found on the Wikipedia website could be used as a solid academic reference. Information had to be gotten form an academic and resourceful website. I have learned to scrutinise any information gotten from the web and make sure it is relevant. (Payne and Whittaker 2006)

I created a power point presentation on the information I gathered on Medieval Education in England. This was a bit difficult for me because it was the first time I had ever had to make a power point presentation. I had no idea how to create the slides and arrange the words. I attended 1 of the library support seminars and was taught how to go about it and found out it was really easy. For my first power point I think it came out ok at the end of the day but I would need to regularly use to Microsoft power point system to perfect it and in future I wouldn’t need any help in getting my slides up. On the

overall presentation, the feedback on organisation and structure found it to be organised and logical, the context and clarity of ideas found it to be clear, voice and pacing was clear with good pacing but however I sped up towards the end: this is because I dint like speaking in public and I ran out of nerves, however if I keep practicing public speaking I would get used to the idea and become a good speaker. Finally I should engage more with the audience during a presentation.

I attended a seminar on using the Harvard style of referencing. Having attended college I had come across this style of referencing and thought I had a good idea of how to do it. However I was wrong and had to learn it all over again. It is still a bit tricky because every time I reference a piece of work I have to go back to the sheet of how to reference in order to know where to place to full stops and comers. I intend to keep practicing using this style of referencing so I become a master at it and wouldn’t need to cross check my work every time I use it.

This is a mini essay on Nicky’s dancing journey I had written earlier in the semester. It describes the learning journey of Nicky from when she started dancing up until the day I wrote the essay. I had not written any thing in a while so this allowed to get back into the flow of writing academic pieces. I realised that I have to learn how to proof read my work more often and intend to do that in the future.

Reference List

Anglia Ruskin University. 2010. Harvard System of Referencing Guide. Available online at .(Accessed 20 Jan 2011).

Payne, E. and Whittaker, L., 2006. Developing Essential Study Skills. Essex: Pearson Education limited.

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