RGM Blog 5 – Women in Education – A History

It is no secret that throughout history women have been largely exluded from education. In many developing countries they are still denied this right that we so callously take for granted here in America. Even here, it is only in recent history that women have been given the same educational rights as men, and there are still reforms to be made before things are completely equal.

Many of the earliest colleges in  America were founded in the seventeenth century, however these were not open to women. “While Harvard opened in 1636, the first college to admit women did not do so for another 200 years. Women did not begin attending college in equal numbers to men until as recently as 1980.” More information on this statistic, the history of colleges, and women in education can be found here.

Although the gender has a much shorter history than men when it comes to access to education, since getting their attendence up to equal numbers, women have actually been earning more degrees overall. “In 1982, women earned more bachelor’s degrees than men for the first time, and women have increased their share of bachelor’s degrees in every year since then. By 1987, women earned the majority of master’s degrees for the first time, and within another decade, more women than men earned doctor’s degrees by 2006, and female domination of college degrees at every level was complete.” More statistics like this and information about women and their history earning degrees can be found in the article linked here.

So ironically, the thing that women were told throughout the majority of history by nearly every country, empire, and civilization that they were not suited for, they excel at. It is important to understand that while women and men are biologically different in many ways, women are no less intelligent and intellectually capable, and should be treated as such. Today we still see rampant gender discrimination in academia even though women have equal rights when it comes to attending school. We need to end this idea that women are only suited for certain pursuits, certain majors, and certain levels of education and understand that a more diverse educational system and workforce is beneficial for all.


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