With changing times, societal behaviour greatly transformed towards women and women’s education in Victorian England. But if you think about times before the year 1800s, it was all different, weird and cruel. Women have received their rights after a lot of sacrifice and fights. They not only had to undergo unreported domestic violence for years but also endured the pain and humiliation of not being educated enough to fight for their rights either.
Victorian era used to be dominated by the teachings of the Church, and a great part of it was the definition of masculinity and femininity. Until the 1840s and even later, a good chunk of women’s education contained the role they were supposed to play in the family later.
What areas was Victorian era female education in?
Education for young girls back then implied cooking, sewing, cleaning and other household chores – anything that they would be subjected to in their married lives. The schools and rather the small interest groups that the women could attend provided only a very basic education about general stuff.
Science and mathematics were still not introduced to women, and those who somehow enrolled themselves in colleges, could not even touch the higher-education level because they were simply not allowed!
THE HUE AND CRY FOR WOMEN’s EDUCATION in VICTORIAN TIMES
The major part of revolt from women’s side for education was to create independence among their community and to reduce the dependency on the male population. They wanted to become able to earn and become economically independent. They wanted to learn new things and expand their knowledge. They wanted to explore areas of expertise and understand how things worked in the real world.
But everything changed in 1852 when Queen Victoria was going to be made the crowned queen of almost half the world! At that time, Britain had made colonies in every country of the world and occupied more than 150 countries. The queen, at that time, said to her uncle, King of Belgians, that women should not accept these masculine roles of ruling and governing nations.
This was a powerful statement coming from a woman who ruled for over 60 years! She was crowned as Queen in the year 1837 and descended from her crown in 1901. She is still remembered as one of the finest rulers of England, and the one who brought in a drastic change towards how women were treated in Britain, and subsequently the whole world!
When a woman rises to a position that’s even higher than that of a man, the whole world has to bow down to her! A woman not only contains the power and vigour to give birth to a new life but can also do every task a man can, with much more grace and poise. In those times, various art styles were also inspired by women.
It was that time only that even male artists had female muses, and many female artists also emerged. One of the most famous female artists was Frida Kahlo, who painted about her own struggles in life and gained worldwide popularity. She was a Mexican painter who highlighted the issues faced by females across the world, using her own face and body as a muse.
It is only after Queen Victoria and her glamorous rule that British Currency gained power. But soon after, two wars came and destroyed a lot of things, including the colonies of Great Britain. Many countries gained independence after World War II because the British empire ran out of money to govern and control those colonies. That is when a democratic setup was established and Bonar Law, the first official British Prime Minister was introduced to the world.
TRANSFORMATION IN EDUCATION FOR VICTORIAN WOMEN
So, how were Victorian era schools and education in general?
Soon enough when many countries and nations experienced that it was an overall loss to keep the women uneducated and confined inside the homes, education for women became a necessity! Schools and colleges were opened across the world for women. Many countries like India and Pakistan, have women-only schools even today where no males can attend classes. While in some remote places there are male-only schools as well, but they are now a rare occurrence.
With changing world and modernization of society, co-ed schools have now gained popularity and fame, where students from different classes, social groups, communities, religions and races can study together. It is all being done to avoid clashes in the future and to help the students gel well with their classmates. It also increases the social contact and reduces a social awkwardness.
There are many instances of people being surprised when they see a person from a different race! These schools, reduce that social weirdness and awkwardness that someone might get when they come across someone belonging to a different race or creed.