Feminism in Education: Gender Equality

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Prior to 1870 education was not formally recognised and only available to the elite few who could afford to educate their children privately or at private schools. The poorer people of society would have to rely on the education of the church and its moral teachings rather than academic teachings. Although the 1870 Forster Act was to bring education to all children between 5-10 years old, it was not welcomed by everyone. Some thought it would lead to the masses ‘thinking’ for themselves and see their roles in society as unfair, causing them to revolt. Others such as the church were funded by the state with public money to provide education for the poor and these churches did not want to lose that influence on youth. Although this gave children a few years of formal education , still only the richer children had the opportunity to further their education until they were 18/19 years old, thus education still being based on social class until the 1944. The 1944 Butler Education Act saw the introduction of a three stage structure that is still in place today and gave all pupils an equal chance to develop through education. It introduced primary education, up to the age of 11, Secondary education, from 11 to 15, and further education which was non- compulsory after the school leaving age. One of the ground-breaking results of the Act was to educate and mobilise women and the working class. It opened secondary school to girls, and the working class, and as a result, a far higher percentage attended higher education after secondary school. This newly found education increased working class awareness of their disadvantaged social position and created a bitter class division between the working and middle class. The most present act of education is the New Labour. The Labour government famous with its motto, “Education, Education, Education” focused their campaign on a better education system but kept many old policies such as consumer choice league tables and...
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