History's Women: Misc. Articles: Women Teaching - During the Civil War Times

This century has witnessed heroic struggles and brilliant victories by woman and for woman, to secure an education, and then to become an educator.

We are ashamed of the men of seventy-five and even fifty years ago, as we remember their contemptuous attitude toward women in their thirst for a higher education and her desire to be an educator.

Woman is a natural teacher. She starts with certain capabilities which man can never acquire. Man has force; woman has tact. Man has reasons; so does women; she also has intuition, which is quicker than reason. Man can drive; woman can draw.

With the admission of women to the institutions of higher education on an equal footing with men, and the establishment of seminaries and colleges for women, the way has be won for woman to become an instructor in the higher and even in the highest branches of learning.

It is now generally conceded that one should have at least a high school education to teach a common school, and a college education to become a teacher in a high school, and a special university training to become a college instructor. Woman has met these requirements and secured the positions. The following tabulated statement for the 1897-98 shows the present standing of woman as a teacher:

History's Women: Teachers Employed in the United States during 1897-98.

Women have won their way from the common school, where they outnumbered men more than two to one, to the high school, where they surpass men in numbers and equal them in efficiency. As we pass to the colleges and universities, we observe a marked change. But this is not surprising, as so large a proportion of the colleges are for men only, and it would hardly be expected that female instructors would be employed. The showing of 1,577 women instructors in the colleges and universities of the United States is of itself a mark of notable achievement.

The great field of education is thus occupied very largely by women, a total of 288,419, as against 151,863 men. To be sure they are largely in the common schools, and this is right, not that they are lacking in capability, but they are are needed where lives are in the formative period. If we could place all elementary teaching in the hands of men, we would not. The heart of woman, fitted for motherhood, is best adapted to the training of young lives.


Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.