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Title: The schooling of working-class girls in nineteenth century Scotland : the interaction of nationality, class and gender
Author: McDermid, Jane Hedger
ISNI:       0000 0001 3623 6304
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2000
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This thesis examines the interaction of class and gender in nineteenth-century Scottish education by means of a focus on the schooling of working-class girls and its relationship to the national educational tradition, with particular reference to the period 1872-1900. The first chapter considers general issues of national identity, education and gender, and the place of women in Scottish educational history. The second chapter investigates the state of female education in Scotland before 1872, focusing on the Argyll Commission (1864-1868). It shows that girls were less likely to be sent to school than boys; that girls stayed at school for a shorter time than boys; and that many girls were taught outside the parochial system. The 1872 Act tackled these inequalities, but reinforced the gendering of education, notably in the curriculum. The third and fourth chapters consider respectively the industrial Lowlands and the areas outwith the central belt (the Borders, and the Highlands and Islands) after the 1872 Education Act, with Glasgow and Dundee as major urban case studies for the former, and Edinburgh and Aberdeen for the latter. Each chapter shows the importance of the regional economy for working-class girls' education, in addition to the expectation of domestic duties. The detailed case study of school log books reveals a continuing, though ameliorated, gender inequality, which was mitigated by opposition from both parents and teachers to any dilution of the academic content of girls' schooling by the emphasis, placed by both government policies and feminist campaigns, on practical domestic skills at the expense of book-learning. However, Catholic schools welcomed domestic subjects, for the good of the family and the Catholic community's standing within the wider national community. The fifth chapter examines the position of the schoolmistress, who, although in a subordinate position within the profession, still considered herself a partner, albeit junior, in preserving the traditional educational ideal of universality and meritocracy. The final chapter concludes that there were sites of conflict (religious, ethnic, national), all of which concurred on the expectations and assumptions regarding gender roles, and especially women's place in the home and within the national community. Nevertheless, the conclusion is that women could play a part in the educational tradition, though not one of equality with men.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available