It’s that time again…. we are announcing the third annual essay competition of The Albert M. Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women’s Education, kindly sponsored by Friends of the Bryn Mawr College Library. As with last year, there are two categories of winners: current students and alumnae.
So, if you would like to have your say then we want to hear it! Your essay will be published on the site of The Albert M. Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women’s Education and the winner of the undergraduate section will receive a $500 cash prize; the winner of the alum section will win a selection of prizes, including a copy of the college history, Offerings to Athena. The competition is open to all current undergraduate students of Bryn Mawr College and the closing date for entries is October 21st 2013 so hurry up and get writing!
The November 30th deadline is approaching for the second annual essay competition of The Albert M. Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women’s Education! We would like to remind and encourage both current students and all alumnae to submit essays addressing the topic of:
In Japan, the influence of Shintoism lessened the initial impact of NeoConfucian on womens lives. Within Shintoism women held power as mikos, a type of shaman with divination abilities. Before the 8th century, half of Japans reigning female sovereigns, such as the popular semi-legendary empress Jingu, were believed to have shaman-like powers. Japans sun goddess Amaterasu, to whom every emperor has had to claim direct descendancy, was also worshiped as a symbol of female mystical power. Her Great Shrine at Ise, cared for by high priestesses, still plays an important role in the lives of the Japanese today.
Do you have thoughts about the place of the women’s college in the twenty-first century educational landscape? Have there been aspects of your experience that have shaped your understanding of education for women in the world today? Respond in the comments, or tweet us @GreenfieldHWE!
The more education, the less unemployment of women; this relationship is as strong as it is in the male labor force. The channel through which this relation arises is also the same, namely, labor turnover, almost half of which involves unemployment. However, the relation between education and turnover is mediated largely by educational differences in on-the-job training among men, while educational differences in labor force attachment are the main source of turnover differences among women. This is because levels of educational differences in on-the-job (in-house) training are small among women, while nonparticipation in the labor market and educational differences in it are quite small among men. Educational differences in the duration of unemployment are negligible among women, though they are observable, if small, among men. Recent growth in women's work attachment has reduced their inter-labor force turnover and their unemployment rate to the point of eliminating the sex differential. On-the-job training of women appears to have increased, though it still remains skimpy.
At the university level, Ontario had the highest proportion of graduates among women aged 25 to 54 in 2009, namely 31% (Table 2). In Newfoundland and Labrador, this proportion was 20%. It should be noted that university graduates living in a given region were not necessarily born there. In fact, some regions of the country can attract university graduates born elsewhere or who received their education in another region or province.
The differences between provinces were somewhat more pronounced when looking at the proportion of people completing postsecondary studies. Women in Quebec and Ontario were most likely to have earned a postsecondary degree (Chart 2). Yet this was also the case for men in these two provinces. In Quebec, students who want to go to university must earn a (college) diploma; this requirement has an impact on postsecondary education completion rates.
Buddhism as practiced in Japan and China also granted women some areas of empowerment. Women went on pilgrimages to Buddhist temples, retreated to nunneries, sometimes gave public lectures, and led temple groups. Chinese Buddhism was at its height during the reign of Wu Zetian who promoted the religion and even justified her rule by claiming she was a reincarnation of a previous female Buddhist saint. During Wus reign, and throughout the early to mid Tang period, women enjoyed relatively high status and freedom. Lovely Tang era paintings and statues depict women on horseback, and as administrators, dancers and musicians. Stories and poems, like those from the pen of the infamous female poet Yu Xuanji, also attest to the almost modern openness of the period.
A Complex History of the Veil
What constitutes modest clothing has changed over time. Like most customs, what women wear has reflected the practices of a region and the social position of the wearer. The veil itself predates Islam by many centuries. In the Near East, Assyrian kings first introduced both the seclusion of women in the royal harem and the veil. Prostitutes and slaves, however, were told not to veil, and were slashed if they disobeyed this law.
Beyond the Near East, the practice of hiding one's face and largely living in seclusion appeared in classical Greece, in the Byzantine Christian world, in Persia, and in India among upper caste Rajput women. Muslims in their first century at first were relaxed about female dress. When the niece of Aishah Bint Abu Bakr (the Prophets wife), Aisha bint Talha was asked by her husband Musab to veil her face, she answered, "Since the Almighty hath put on me the stamp of beauty, it is my wish that the public should view the beauty and thereby recognized His grace unto them. On no account, therefore, will I veil myself."
As Islam reached other lands, regional practices, including the covering of women, were adopted by the early Muslims. Yet it was only in the second Islamic century that the veil became common, first used among the powerful and rich as a status symbol. The Qu'ranic prescription to "draw their veils over their bosoms" became interpreted by some as an injunction to veil one's hair, neck and ears.
Throughout Islamic history only a part of the urban classes were veiled and secluded. Rural and nomadic women, the majority of the population, were not. For a woman to assume a protective veil and stay primarily within the house was a sign that her family had the means to enable her to do so.
Since nomad women rarely veiled, in the early stages of those Islamic countries with nomadic roots, women often were allowed to go unveiled, even in town. In the years of the early Safavid dynasty, women were unveiled, although the custom was changed by late Safavid times. Among the Turks, who came into Anatolia as nomads, Ibn Battuta in the fourteenth century saw what he called a "remarkable thing. The Turkish women do not veil themselves. Not only royal ladies but also wives of merchants and common people will sit in a wagon drawn by horses. The windows are open and their faces are visible."
In the early years of American history women were discouraged from getting a higher education it would be considered unnatural for women to be educated, and women were only taught domestic skills such as sewing, cooking and child-rearing.
The college experience can very easily become a paradox, as a college education should be what equips a young person to accomplish whatever they wish, yet during the time spent earning a diploma, a great deal of pruning other dreams and aspirations is necessary to earn the title of college graduate. The ability to focus and make decisions about one’s future is indeed important, but all too often in the college setting, in the process of becoming a college graduate, pieces of the individual dissolve. Colleges and universities have plenty to offer the future, but people have more. At women’s colleges, the student body is made up of individuals willing to identify as different and who believe that it is their individual aspirations combined with a college diploma that will be what changes their world. The college experience for these women will be a tool, not an identity; because their identity is something they are not willing to compromise.