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1. To what extent did working-class girls benefit from the educational changes of the period 1850-1900?

2. Did the innovations to middle-class girls' education represent any substantial break with traditional ideas of feminity?

3. How effectively did women exploit new opportunities brought about by their increasing access to higher education?

Core Reading

Bryant, M. The Unexpected Revolution: A Study in the History of the Education of Women and Girls

Levine, Philippa. Victorian Feminism, ch. 2

McDermid, Jane. 'Women and Education' in Purvis (ed), Women's History: Britain, 1850-1945

Skedd, Susan . 'Women Teachers and the Expansion of Girls' Schooling in England, c. 1760-1820', in Barker and Chalus (eds), Gender in Eighteenth-Century England

Elementary education

Burstyn, J. Victorian Education and the Ideals of Womanhood, chs. 4, 5, 6 & 8

Delamont, Sara. 'The Contradictions in Ladies' Education' in S. Delamont and L. Duffin (eds), The Nineteenth-Century Woman: Her Cultural and Physical World#

Delamont, Sara. 'The Domestic Ideology and Women's Education' in Delamont and Duffin (eds), The Nineteenth-Century Woman

Dyhouse, Carol. Girls Growing Up in Late Victorian and Edwardian England, chs. 2, 3, 5

Hunt, F. Lessons for Life, chs. 2, 9

Gomershall, Margaret. Working-Class Girls in Nineteenth-Century England

Pedersen, J.S. 'Some Victorian Headmistresses', Victorian Studies (1981)

Adult education

Gleadle, Kathryn. The Early Feminists, ch. 5

Purvis, June. Hard Lessons: The Lives and Education of Working-Class Women in Nineteenth-Century England

Higher Education

Bryant, M. The Unexpected Revolution: A Study in the History of the Education of Women and Girls

Dyhouse, Carol. No Distinction of Sex? Women in British Universities, 1870-1939

Howarth, J.and Curthoys, M. 'The Political Economy of Women's Higher Education in Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Britain', Historical Research, 60 (1987)

McWilliams-Tullberg, R. 'Women and Degrees at Cambridge University', in M. Vicinus (ed), A Widening Sphere: Changing Roles of Victorian Women

Vicinus, Martha. Independent Women, ch. 4


Gleadle, Kathryn. British Women in the Nineteenth Century, ch. 10

Vicinus, Martha. Independent Women, ch. 3

Levine, Philippa. Victorian Feminism, chs. 2, 4