Women's Public Lives

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Public Lives:

1870 – Education Act, first allowed women to stand on school boards – had impact on children beyond their own. Pre 1870 education given by organisations and churches but was not compulsory, 34% aged 6-12 weren’t educated. Believed Britain would fall back in industry etc because of lack of education.

 1870 liberal Forster set up compulsory elementary education, England in districts and each one with school board. Women voluntary managers – chance to make difference locally and regionally.

1902 – School boards abolished and women again illegible for election as seen too important for women to have input into.

By 1900 many working class men and all women didn’t have vote. All mean needed vote first , and ideologies had to change. Women needed public role.

 Volunteers with churches and organisations, private schools. Became Poor Law Guardians and managed individual schools. Assisted in classes in reading and needlework etc, still had relevance to ideologies. Began to break into public sphere and voices were heard but ideologies still heavily impacted opportunities. 


Poor Law Administration – no law against women being poor law guardians provided owned enough property, moved into this near end of 19th century. First elected in 1875, by 1901 over 1000 through 500 unions. Doing what they could to…


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