Event Title

The Woman Question in West Virginia Education, 1863-1917

Location

Panel 20: Kearney 317

Start Date

27-10-2012 1:15 PM

End Date

27-10-2012 2:45 PM

Description

After performing primary research, I realized that women and men in West Virginia classrooms prescribed to typical gender roles of the nineteenth century. While this finding should be expected, I noticed that education was extremely important for the state since its founding, and both men and women participated actively in establishing public education. Furthermore, primary research showed, despite the common misconception of being "uneducated," teachers went through a rigorous program, the general public called for better state education, and students of both sexes attended public and private institutions in droves. I argue that the West Virginia School Journal displayed an authentic voice of West Virginians writing at the time and exemplified true opinions of men and women in the classroom. Likewise, various school reports lend empirical data based on student roll calls, employment status, and teacher salaries. Yet the literature about the histories of the schools themselves was a mere form of propaganda, which tried to persuade the reader that West Virginia schools were established with gender equity. They also proclaimed the success of its female seminaries. The “woman question” could not stay out of the classroom and historians could not deny its presence in the history of West Virginia education, especially while writing after the Progressive era, the 19th Amendment, and women’s social liberation of the Roaring Twenties.

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Oct 27th, 1:15 PM Oct 27th, 2:45 PM

The Woman Question in West Virginia Education, 1863-1917

Panel 20: Kearney 317

After performing primary research, I realized that women and men in West Virginia classrooms prescribed to typical gender roles of the nineteenth century. While this finding should be expected, I noticed that education was extremely important for the state since its founding, and both men and women participated actively in establishing public education. Furthermore, primary research showed, despite the common misconception of being "uneducated," teachers went through a rigorous program, the general public called for better state education, and students of both sexes attended public and private institutions in droves. I argue that the West Virginia School Journal displayed an authentic voice of West Virginians writing at the time and exemplified true opinions of men and women in the classroom. Likewise, various school reports lend empirical data based on student roll calls, employment status, and teacher salaries. Yet the literature about the histories of the schools themselves was a mere form of propaganda, which tried to persuade the reader that West Virginia schools were established with gender equity. They also proclaimed the success of its female seminaries. The “woman question” could not stay out of the classroom and historians could not deny its presence in the history of West Virginia education, especially while writing after the Progressive era, the 19th Amendment, and women’s social liberation of the Roaring Twenties.