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Women in Higher Education: A Timeline

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Coleen Morris

on 19 April 2011

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Transcript of Women in Higher Education: A Timeline

1636: Harvard College was the first post-secondary institution founded in the United States.
1642: Harvard conferred 9 bachelor of arts degrees.
1675: Literacy rate approximately 45 percent for women, 70 percent for men.
1755: The College of Philadelphia was the first college whose focus was not on training students for the Christian ministry.
1761: The percentage of college graduates going in to the ministry decreased from 50% to 37%
1765: Modifications to curriculum give emphasis to mathematics, natural sciences, English language and literature, and modern foreign languages.
1770’s 1800: Ideology of “Republican Motherhood” urges education for women to better prepare their sons as informed citizens.
1792: Sarah Pierce opens Litchfield Female Academy in Connecticut, one of the earliest women’s schools.
1821: Emma Willard founds Troy Female Seminary, an important training school for woman’s teachers.
1824: Rensselar Polytechnic Institute was the first separate technology school established.
1833: Oberlin College founded as nations first collegiate institution to accept women and black students.
1836: Wesleyan Female College of Macon, Georgia became the 1st educational institution to award higher degrees to women.
1837: Mary Lyon founds influential Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, later College, attracting middle class girls.
1837: Horace Mann named first Massachusetts Secretary of Education, giving push to common school movement and the opening of teaching opportunities to women.
1839: First public U.S. normal school opens in Lexington, Massachusetts, providing new avenue for training women teachers.
1841: History was made at Oberlin’s commencement, where 3 American women were the 1st to earn a regular bachelor of arts degree by completing the identical requirements to the male candidates.
1848: Astronomer Maria Mitchell, later professor at Vassar College, becomes first women elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
1849: Rockford College, in Illinois, was the 1st chartered college for women in the north.
1862: Morrill Land-Grant Act passed, paving way for coeducational public universities.
1862: Morrill Act was passed by Congress, giving federal aid to agricultural and mechanical colleges.
1865: Vassar College founded in New York, first of the influential “Seven Sisters” women’s institutions to open as a college.
1873: Dr. Edward Clarke publishes Sex in Education, challenging women’s physical ability to withstand higher education.
1875: Wellesley College opened with the 1st scientific laboratory open to women.
1877: Helen Magill, at Boston University, is first woman to earn a Ph.D. in the United States.
1881: Association of Collegiate Alumnae formed as first national organization of female college graduates; will sponsor numerous studies of women students.
1885: Bryn Mawr College presented women an opportunity for graduate study comparable to Harvard and Johns Hopkins.
1891: Women were admitted to Brown University.
1900: 71.6% of American institutions of Higher Education were coeducational.
1901: The United State Bureau of Education reported 119 women’s colleges.
1903: University of Chicago segregates women from its previously coeducational undergraduate program, signaling a backlash against women students.
1910: Women are 39 percent of collegiate undergraduates and 20 percent of college faculty.
1945: Harvard Medical School accepts its first female student.
1960: 300 women’s colleges and 261 men’s colleges
1970: Several male institutions, as well as established women’s colleges, become coeducational.
1972: Title IX passed to counter sex discrimination in federally funded education programs.
1973: 146 women’s colleges and 101 men’s colleges.
1974: Women’s Educational Equality Act provides financial assistance for efforts to ensure gender equity.
1980: Women become the majority of all college students, at 51 percent.
1996: Supreme Court rules that Virginia Military Institute must become coeducational, denying argument that it should have special single-sex status.


Women in A Timeline Horace Mann named first Massachusetts Secretary of Education, giving push to common school movement and the opening of teaching opportunities to women. 1837 Higher Education 1821 Emma Willard founds
Troy Female Seminary,
an important training school for woman's teachers. 1675 Literacy rate approximately 45 percent for women,
70 percent for men. 1770’s –- 1800 Ideology of “Republican Motherhood” urges education for women to better prepare their sons as informed citizens. 1792 Sarah Pierce opens Litchfield Female Academy in Connecticut, one of the earliest women’s schools. 1837 Mary Lyon founds influential Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, later College, attracting middle class girls. 1636: Harvard College was the first post-secondary institution founded in the United States. Photo: Harvard College in 1636. Retrieved on April 17, 2011, fromhttp://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/365_this_day/9-September/9_23_harvard.gif 1642: Harvard conferred
9 bachelor of arts degrees. 1755: The College of Philadelphia was the first college whose focus was not on training students for the Christian ministry. 1761: The percentage of college graduates going in to the ministry decreased from 50% to 37%. 1765: Modifications to curriculum gave emphasis to mathematics, natural sciences, English language and literature, and modern foreign languages. 1824: Rensselar Polytechnic Institute was the first separate technology school established. 1833: Oberlin College founded as nations first collegiate institution to accept women and black students. 1836: Wesleyan Female College of Macon, Georgia became the 1st educational institution to award higher degrees to women. 1841: History was made at Oberlin’s commencement, where 3 American women were the 1st to earn a regular bachelor of arts degree by completing the identical requirements to the male candidates. Mary Caroline Rudd graduated from Oberlin College in 1841.
Retrieved on April 17, 2011, from http://www.nwhm.org/online-exhibits/education/1800s_6.htm Morrill Land-Grant Act passed, giving federal aid to agricultural and mechanical colleges, paving way for coeducational public universities. 1862 1865: Vassar College founded in New York, first of the influential “Seven Sisters” women’s institutions to open as a college. 1873: Dr. Edward Clarke publishes Sex in Education, challenging women’s physical ability to withstand higher education. 1875: Wellesley College opened with the 1st scientific laboratory open to women. 1877: Helen Magill, at Boston University, is first woman to earn a Ph.D. in the United States. 1885: Bryn Mawr College presented women an opportunity for graduate study comparable to Harvard and Johns Hopkins. 1900: 71.6% of American institutions of Higher Education were coeducational.
1901: The United State Bureau of Education reported 119 women’s colleges.
1903: University of Chicago segregates women from its previously coeducational undergraduate program, signaling a backlash against women students. 1910: Women are 39 percent of collegiate undergraduates and 20 percent of college faculty. 1945: Harvard Medical School accepts its first female student. 1960: There are 300 women’s colleges and 261 men’s colleges. 1970: Several male institutions, as well as established women’s colleges, become coeducational.
1972: Title IX passed to counter sex discrimination in federally funded education programs.
1973: 146 women’s colleges and 101 men’s colleges.
1974: Women’s Educational Equality Act provides financial assistance for efforts to ensure gender equity.
1980: Women become the majority of all college students, at 51 percent. 1996: Supreme Court rules that Virginia Military Institute must become coeducational, denying argument that it should have special single-sex status. And Today... Brubacher, J.S. & Rudy, W. (2002). Higher education in transition: A history of American colleges and universities (4th ed.). New Jersey: Transaction. Presentation By Coleen Morris and Karissa Myers Eisenmann, Linda. (1998). Historical dictionary of women’s education in the United States. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.
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