Historians of Education in Scotland (HEdScot) conference 2011
David Dick (Edinburgh Napier University)
How was Female Education affected by Scottish Claims for Educational and Intellectual Democracy?
21 October 2011

Traditionally the ‘national’ system of education in Scotland claimed pride in its democracy which was based partly on its openness of access to its universities and partly on its intellectuality. The former is usually explained through the opportunity and access for the ‘lad o’ pairts’ – the boy from the Kailyard, but never for a ‘lass o’pairts’, and the latter for its preparation for living in a democracy with its roots in the Scottish Enlightenment. This democratic tradition is explored and challenged on the basis of the long and arduous struggle during the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries for females in gaining entry to the portals of our four severely meritocratic and patriarchal universities. It is intended to show the impediments as well as the slow educational and legal processes which eventually allowed women to attend some classes and ultimately to be permitted to matriculate and become full members of our universities.

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