‘And Sweet Girl-Graduates’? From Girl to Woman Through Higher Education

  • Alison Mackinnon


In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, a tiny band of girls attempted to gain the same education as their brothers. They sought university education. In storming the barricades of male-only higher education, they not only aroused anxieties and predictions of imminent social collapse, but they changed the nature of girlhood. Throughout the twentieth century, that sturdy band was followed by increasing numbers of aspirants. Higher education became a normal part of growing up, a prelude to employment and independence. Yet in some parts of the world, fear of the changes wrought by educating girls still leads to restriction: Cultural and religious obstacles prevail. In this chapter, I draw out differences in the experience of girls’ higher education in several countries with markedly differing attitudes to women.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alison Mackinnon
    • 1
  1. 1.Hawke Research InstituteUniversity of South AustraliaHyde ParkAustralia

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