No Distinction of Sex?: Women in British Universities, 1870-1939

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In 1939 women represented nearly one quarter of the student population in British universities. Though tantamount to a "social revolution" in the eyes of many contemporaries, the process has recieved scant attention from historians. Whilst prejudice and hostility towards women lingered on in Oxford and Cambridge, it has often been assumed that the female presence was welcomed elsewhere. The younger, civic universities commonly advertised themselves as making "no distinction of sex" in admissions, appointments, or...

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Overview

In 1939 women represented nearly one quarter of the student population in British universities. Though tantamount to a "social revolution" in the eyes of many contemporaries, the process has recieved scant attention from historians. Whilst prejudice and hostility towards women lingered on in Oxford and Cambridge, it has often been assumed that the female presence was welcomed elsewhere. The younger, civic universities commonly advertised themselves as making "no distinction of sex" in admissions, appointments, or in educational policy.; This work of social history, based on extensive archival research, examines the truth of these claims and explores the experiences of women teachers and students in this period.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A volume concerned with the experiences of women, as both students and teachers, in British universities before 1939. The five chapters look at patterns of provision for female students; patterns of supervision among "lady" superintendents and tutors to women students; residence halls and hostels for women students; women academics; and student life. Appendices offer data concerning changes in the number of male and female full- time students; students and residence, 1937-8; and a female warden's duties, c.1909. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781857284591
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 12/1/1995
  • Series: Women's and Gender History Series
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction 1
1 Patterns of provision: access and accommodation 11
Admitting women 11
The Ladies' Educational Associations 13
Women students: numbers and social composition 17
Scholarships, grants and costs 27
Making space for women 33
Benefactions and the shape of provision 35
2 Patterns of supervision: lady superintendents and tutors to women students 56
Chaperonage and control: professors' wives and "lady tutors" 56
Delicate issues and dangerous women: Annie Besant and University College London 60
Tutors to women students: the politics of appointment, status and role 62
Protecting women's interests? The question of the need for separate provision 67
Status uncertainties and troubled careers: the experience of women tutors 74
3 Residence: halls and hostels for women students 91
The ideal of college life 91
The practicalities of provision 95
Lady superintendents, principals and wardens 100
"Sweet girl graduates" and the serpent: the Bangor controversy of 1892 103
Lady wardens: trials and tribulations 105
A sense of community: Margery Fry in Birmingham 108
Families, boarding houses or colleges? Models of community life 111
Students or schoolgirls? 114
A woman's space? Students, domestic staff and the privileges of hall life 121
4 Women academics 134
The first appointments 134
The numbers of women teachers 137
Obstacles: research and sponsorship 141
Obstacles: femininity and "worldly knowledge" 147
Obstacles: salaries and pensions 148
Obstacles: working conditions 151
The nature of discrimination 153
Difficult careers: the case of Edith Morley 156
Obstacles: careers versus marriage 161
Difficult careers: the case of Margaret Miller 163
Networks of support 167
The British Federation of University Women 172
5 Student life 189
"Penetration" and "acceptance": thinking about change 189
Segregation versus assimilation: interpreting the evidence 190
Protecting women from men, or men from women? 192
Masculinity redefined: male ideals of fellowship and performance 200
Boat-racing, women and sport 202
Speaking out: women's debating societies 206
Gender and misrule: women and the college "rag" 211
Conviviality or misogyny? 216
Women's suffrage 217
Women students and the community: settlements and social work 221
Feminine subcultures and feminism 223
Conclusion 238
Appendix I: Numbers of students, 1900-1901 and 1910-11 248
Appendix II: Numbers of students, 1920-21 and 1934-5 249
Appendix III: Students and residence, 1937-8 250
Appendix IV: The duties of the Warden of University Hall 252
Select bibliography 255
Index 279
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