Women’S Education During The Nineteenth Century

0 / 5. 0

Women’s education during the nineteenth century


With the next work I intend to illustrate women’s education in the course of the nineteenth century, for this I will outline the situation of women in Spanish society, and as little by little their role within society was changed as well as theThey were able to have the right to education. Also in the present study we can observe how the situation of the female group was completely linked to political and economic changes.


To focus on female education we must know what the position was like. And its evolution within this context, within the society in which the main role of the woman was to be a wife and mother.

At the beginning of the 19th century, woman is subject to debates by doctors, philosophers and religious who conclude that the woman was lower than man. The mere thought that women could develop some kind of activity that needed high reasoning contradicted the thought of nineteenth -century Spaniards. (Quiles, 2002: 7-9)

The idea that prevailed in Spanish society is that the woman since her birth should depend on a man. The fact that the woman was independent was an unthinkable thought. Women when becoming adults could only choose between religious or marriage life, the latter conditioned them to obey the husband. In fact, the lack of obedience could be punished by the authorities.

We could say that this is the situation of women in Spanish society until the mid -nineteenth century, but as progress is given a new type of woman that spreads in the press and that aspires to participate in Spanish public life.

During the restoration, political decisions show us the little interest that were for the rights of women whose subordinate position was reflected in the Civil Code of 1889. The married woman for having this condition was denied or the majority of legal rights was limited, for example, the woman without her husband’s written permission could neither buy or sell goods. (Garrido, 1997: 450)

Thus marriage is evoked as the best way for women to exercise their function, deniating emancipation and economic independence. There were also within this closed society alternative models disseminated by the leftist sectors that extended by the libertarian media. For example, in the II Congress of the Spanish Regional Federation of 1872 it was said that women are a free and intelligent being, therefore, responsible for their actions the same as man. (Garrido, 1997: 454)

This is a small sketch of the role that women had during the 19th century. Women’s access to education will expand with form progress the century. It may be that the small educational achievements that were achieved today seem insignificant, but women’s access to education was a determining step so that they were gradually getting independence.

Women’s education from the War of Independence to the Albores of the Revolution of 1868:

The filtration of liberal principles reached its peak with the bourgeois revolution, in Spain there was a need to create a new public instruction system that concorded with the new political situation. At the same time, the economy changes with the industrialization that produces a series of transformations in which the role of women is essential with the incorporation of female labor.

Rousseau’s ideas such as other pedagogues from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century such as Pestalozzi greatly influence Spanish educational thinking. Liberal thinkers saw women as those responsible for the citizen and their education, so they need an instruction that would allow them to perform their function. (Quero, 1986: 320)

The incipient changes in the field ideas produce small transformations that begin institutions in the field of women’s education. This intention is seen in the bases for the formation of a general plan of public instruction written by Jovellanos. This plan proposes the creation of free schools for poor girls, the principles of religion and work. While proposing to organize schools for girls in wealthy families in which they can receive a more complete and careful education. (Garrido, 1997: 429)

In 1814 Quintana presented the project on the general arrangement of public education, according to this project, the need to create public schools is established to teach girls to read and write and for adult women to learn work. These proposals were abandoned with the return to absolutism, but from the liberal triennium they restarted. In 1822, it was established that girls’ schools had the same system and curriculum as children’s. The schools of both sexes were also specifically prohibited. (Ruiz, 1970: 30)

The new pedagogical theories helped spread the idea that it was necessary to articulate an education for women. Who defended this thought in Spain was Pablo Montesinos, who dedicated himself to boost popular education, but above all that of children and women. Paravulo schools created gave both physical and moral education to children and poor families. (Jiménez, 1986: 145)

It was not until 1838 in which the true first project to implement the state teaching among the child population for both sexes was carried out. The population was sought to teach basic knowledge in general. Although this law established the minimum educational content for boys and girls, but only schools for boys were really built. (Ruiz, 1970: 120)

The final project would arrive with Claudio Moyano in 1857, proposed to extend elementary primary education to the entire population. Within primary education the only difference between female and male education would be that in the first case the subject of brief notions of agriculture, industry and commerce would be taught and in the second case it was replaced by the subject the work of the work ofYour sex. (Garrido, 1997: 443-445)

Women’s education after the 1868 revolution and during the restoration, within the renovating currents the main exponents will be the Free Teaching Institution and the Krausist School. The most outstanding initiatives are proposed by the Krausists, in Spain this was introduced by Julián Sanz del Rio. Among its main drivers is Fernando de Castro and Francisco Giner de los Ríos among many others who were founder of the Free Teaching Institution. (Jiménez, 1986: 148)

After the 1868 revolution Julián Sanz was appointed official rector of the Central University of Madrid. One of its main initiatives was the Artistic and Literary Athenaeum of Ladies of Madrid, whose function was going to be to train future mothers, with the intention of regenerating society. (Jiménez, 1986: 150)

As we can see this instruction was within the traditional one, but despite this it was one of the first steps in the eagerness to educate women.

The Athenaeum continued the Sunday conferences whose great merit was to cross the entrance of women to the university. Its objective was to create a climate conducive to women’s education and design the necessary educational framework. In the conference the rise of women to instruction was defended, but as long as this fact did not endanger the established order. In December 1869 Castro inaugurated the School of Office, he had a three -year curriculum, and provided the young women a complete preparation for the profession. Other schools were created with different professional exits, the School of Commerce. (Garrido, 1997: 448-449)

Another very important milestone for women’s education was the Association for Teaching Women, Educational Project created in 1870 by Fernando Castro. It offered the best and most varied instruction that a young woman could have in Spain, this education was intended for middle -class girls who needed to train to get a job with which to support themselves (Ruiz, 1970: 124)

Fernando Castro’s effort paid his best fruits in this association, a work that was continued in the Free Teaching Institution.

The teaching -free institution arose after the attempts of the Cánovas government to suppress freedom of teaching and research in the university field. The teaching -free institution was created as a private and secular institute, inspired by Krausist ideas. Advocated public, compulsory and secular education. (Quero, 1986: 327)

An important step: the entrance of women into the university

University education had been prohibited for women, it was not until the mid -nineteenth century that Concepción Arenal disguised as a man accesses the Central University of Madrid. He was discovered, but with an express authorization of the State he could continue with his studies. This was a great advance, in fact, shortly after Elena Maseras and Rivera was the first woman who in 1879 ended the medical career. Although this will be an isolated case and it will not be until 1882 in which female names begin to appear in the book registration books of university degrees. (Álvarez, 1988: 128-129)

Legally access to this level of studies recognized until the first time of the 20th century, specifically in the Royal Order of September 7, 1910, women’s access to the average and higher levels of teaching was allowed for the first time. In this way a wide range of possibilities for women opened not only in educational matters, but also in the workplace. (Garrido, 1997: 471)


As we can see the woman during the nineteenth century undergoes a series of transformations that are closely linked to political advances and setbacks. It is a fact that during progressive governments female education was favored, but that its little endurance made these advances scarce, and that in most cases they would be stagnant.

It was not until the restoration that increased the number of women who made education not only of students but of teachers. Despite this progress Spain was anchored in conservatism and cost a lot that society affected women needed to instruct.


  • Álvarez Ricart, María del Carmen (1988), The woman as a professional of medicine in nineteenth century Spain. Barcelona: Anthropos.
  • Garrido Gonzalez, Elisa, Folgera Crespo, Pilar, Ortega López, Margarita, Segura Graiño, Cristina (1997), History of Women in Spain, Madrid: Synthesis.
  • Quero Moreno, José Manuel, Escobar Aguirre, J. Samuel (1986), Teach for life: Protestantism in Pestalozzi and Spanish Krausism, Madrid: Evangelical Council.
  • Jiménez García, Antonio (1986), Krausism and the Free Teaching Institution, Madrid: Chisel.
  • Quiles Faz, Amparo, Sauret Guerrero, María Teresa, (2002) prototype and images of women in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Malaga: University of Malaga.
  • Ruiz Berrio, Julio (1970), School Policy of Spain in the 19th century (1808-1833), Madrid: Higher Council for Scientific Research.

Free Women’S Education During The Nineteenth Century Essay Sample

Related samples

Zika virus: Transmission form Introduction The Zika virus belongs to the Flaviviradae family, was found for the first time in a monkey called Rhesus febrile and in...

Zika virus: cases and prevention Introduction The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that Zika is a virus caused through the mosquito bite which is...

Zeus The King of Greek mythology Introduction Zeus is the Olympic God of heaven and thunder, the king of all other gods and men and, consequently, the main figure...

Zeus's punishment to Prometheus Introduction Prometheus, punished by Zeus Prometheus, punished by Zeus. Prometheus is a ‘cousin’ of Zeus. He is the son of the...


Leave feedback

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *