chapter  8
Education
ByCarol Dyhouse
Pages 15

Women's access to higher education has always been a key issue for feminists. Nineteenth-century feminists fought for higher education as proof of women's mental and intellectual capacities, to enable them to practise medicine and to better their chances in teaching. Changes in educational provision for middle­ class girls and women in the late Victorian period were intimately connected with the rise of 'first-wave' feminism and with the demand for suffrage. It can be argued, similarly, that the rising levels of educational aspiration and achieve­ ment among women, which followed extensions of secondary schooling after 1944 and of university education during the 1960s, and particularly following the Robbins Report of 1963, were crucial precursors of the rise of ' second-wave' feminism and the Women's Liberation Movement in the 1970s.