Today is International Women’s Day. People throughout the world come together today to acknowledge the strife, the passion and the care that women put forth into the lives of the loved ones surrounding them. Women all around the globe have had a tough history. It’s taken many difficult steps in order for them to get to where they are today. In some parts of the world, women are still struggling in many ways. As a part of Women’s History Month and for all times of the year, it’s important for us to remember and appreciate the girth and the accomplishments of many women, for they knew change was possible. Things have gotten better in all aspects of life including education. Let’s take a look at some of the ladies in history who made tremendous changes to the education landscape for us all:
Kindergarten Education Pioneer
In 1888, when Boston public schools added kindergartens, Wheelock began a one-year training program for teachers at Chauncy Hall. It began attracting students from other parts of the country, and, after expanding to two years, became an independent training school.
Later, the school added training for primary and nursery school teachers as well, and expanded the kindergarten course to three years in 1929.
Wheelock served on several crucial national committees that worked for recognition and standardization of kindergarten education and teacher training. She worked on kindergarten and education issues with settlement houses, the National Education Association, and the League of Nations.
Educator and Women’s Rights Advocate
Soon after moving to London, Emily Davies began working for the admission of women to higher education. She advocated for the admission of girls to London University and to Oxford and Cambridge.
She also became involved in the wider women’s rights movement, including advocating for women’s suffrage. She helped organize for John Stuart Mill’s 1866 petition to Parliament for women’s rights. That same year, she also wrote Higher Education for Women.
In 1869, Emily Davies was part of a group that opened a women’s college, Girton College. In 1873 the institution moved to Cambridge. It was Britain’s first women’s college. From 1873 to 1875, Emily Davies served as mistress of the college, then she spent thirty more years as Secretary to the college. (This college became part of Cambridge University and began granting full degrees in 1940.)
Blogger, Activist and Nobel Peace Prize Winner
Malala passion for politics and girls rights to education was initially inspired by her father when she witnessed the actions of her him putting his life on the line for a cause he believed in. This experience changed history and Malala’s dream of one of becoming a doctor to become a politician, and fighting for the rights of girls and access to schools and education in Pakistan.
From the age of nine years old Malala was blogging to the BBC under the alias “Gul Mukai” telling real life encounters of the oppression from the ruling Taliban. By eleven years old she founded a foundation to help poor women obtain education. By fourteen years old she was heading school rallies and events for girls rights to education and received awards such awards as the International Children’s Peace Prize, National Youth Peace Prize, and the Game changers 2011 Award in addition to holding national media speeches and support for her crusade.
These women refused to sit back and allow the issues of their times continue. They knew something had to change for the betterment of their people, but also succeeded in the advancement of mankind through their progressive work.