Role of women in education

Concerning the commemoration of Teachers’ Day, it is essential to review the evolution of women in education in two ways: education for women and education through women.

The foundations of the current educational system began to be built in Europe in the mid-eighteenth century, believing that girls and boys were created to fulfill different social destinies and, consequently, their education should also be very differentiated. Teaching for women was based on learning prayers and domestic chores to be good wives and mothers. On the contrary, the education of men was open to knowledge, science, philosophy, and other subjects.

Meanwhile, in Mexico since pre-Columbian times, the educational ideal resided in maintaining the uses and customs of the past, also observing the difference between men and women in terms of education to reach this goal.

Role of women in education

With the arrival of the Spaniards in our country, the European educational model was inserted into our culture. Although the meaning of keeping women inferior was the same, religion took the field of education to evangelize the Indians of our lands.

With this task, in 1534, Bishop Fray Juan de Zumárraga tried to increase the education of the Indian women, bringing nun teachers from Spain. Therefore, women’s education was in the convents, and their teachers were women of the church.

In the Colony, in 1786, a better school and public system for women began; education and women’s work were promoted; which makes it necessary to optimize this learning and modify traditional behaviors.

However, the most outstanding school achievement for women can be considered during the seventeenth century. At this time, it is precisely in Puebla where the profession of “school teachers” begins, only for Spanish women, in which they teach how to make chocolates, weave and sew. In 1871, with Benito Juárez, the “School of Arts and Crafts for Women,” the “Normal School for Teachers,” and the “Nursing” were created; this marks an outstanding professional development for women in our country.

Later, at the end of the 19th century, a small group of women gained access to higher schools, constituting their insertion in trades, literature, journalism and indicating their place in teaching.

Women have been in a vicious educational circle since ancient times. She is the one who has had to reproduce the macho teachings, immersed in submission, and at the same time, she is the one who receives these teachings.

What is our task? We mothers and women who have the gift of educating in the classroom are responsible for transmitting values, responsibility, and equality to break this vicious circle.


Kim Dearborn

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