History of women in the United Kingdom
A brief history on women of the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is a sovereign country with a very rich history. Their leaders and wars are among the most taught history in schools around the world since they helped shape the modern time. Part of its rich history is how the roles and rights of women evolved as time passed. To learn more, here is a brief history of women in the United Kingdom through how they acquired education.
The medieval society of the United Kingdom was patriarchal. Women’s role in the society varied according to factors such as social status. During the medieval era, women could only choose two future paths: the household or the nunnery. Since the men were the heads of the family, the sons were always on top priority in terms of education. Daughters from well-off families were also educated by tutors unless they were sent to nunneries where they were given the education they needed. Those who remained at home were taught how to become better wives, mothers, and household managers. The peasant classes were not all unknowledgeable as well. They were usually taught by their parents, who were also taught by their parents before them.
The early modern time was seen to have an abundance of accounts about noble women. Journals and newspapers on wives of dukes, counts, and other nobles were mostly found during this time. It was during this era that the middle and upper-class women of England were recognized as superior in education compared to other countries in Europe. Upper- class daughters had tutors; middleclass girls were taught academic subjects by their mothers, who also learned from their mothers, and the daughters of merchants were taught to run the business.
It was during this time that the education women were enjoying took a step back. Ladies from the middle and upper classes were still given proper education; however, it was far different from what it used to be. Daughters from well-off families were sent to finishing schools to achieve “accomplishments” such as embroidery and music while the academic subjects that were once taught were no longer given priority.
The nineteenth century was one of the more colorful events of women history. It was in this century that working-class women were given practical education, which helped them acquire jobs. However, the parliament laws banned women and children from working for more than certain hours in factories and underground working areas which led to lesser working opportunities. Fortunately, the typewriter was invented and other technological advances emerged that opened better opportunities for women. This gave birth to famous women like Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and Mary Anne Evans.
This was century that saw women push their rights to being the equals of men. During the early years of the century, a minority of men were unable to attain their right to vote, which was later taken care of. This effort triggered the women’s movement to also demand their right for suffrage.
Women’s battle for rights equal to those of men has gone a long way; it is now also written in women’s history. In this present century, we are enjoying a privilege that women from the medieval time have not experienced. We are very fortunate to be able to experience the freedom we are enjoying today. We should be very grateful for the brave women who fought for it.
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Hudson, Pat. “Women’s Work.” BBC. March 29, 2011. Accessed on November 19, 2018. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/victorians/womens_work_01.shtml.
Lambert, Tim. “A Brief History of Women’s Rights.” Local History. Accessed on November 19, 2018. http://www.localhistories.org/womensrights.html.
Oxford Royale Academy. “A History of Women’s Education in the UK.” Articles. March 9, 2017. https://www.oxford-royale.co.uk/articles/history-womens-education-uk.html.