The study of the history of the education of women is just such a focus within the more general category of women's history. Scholars who have studied women's education have found that it is a complex affair, one not easily categorized, and one which (like other aspects of women's history) does not quite fit into more traditional historical periods (010). Yet, the study of women's education is an important aspect of history, because a society's attitudes, policies, and practices related to the rearing of the next generation and the continued intellectual and social development of its adult members reflect some of that society's most fundamental values. An understanding of those values helps us both to appreciate the past and critique it in terms of the future. In addition, the nature of education provided for any particular group within a society reveals a good deal about the status and position of that group and in large
Scholarship on women's education falls generally into four categories. As might be expected, a major share of it has produced a record of inequities in the education of males and females, of ways in which girls and women have been denied access to the kind of education available to men. Emphasis in this work tends to be placed on formal instruction and/or schooling, and has provided us with an important rationale for studying women's education. It has also outlined the major beliefs and attitudes prevalent among males which served to prevent educational equity for females.