African-American women Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 30 December 2016

African-American women

In all parts of the world, women are discriminated against and subordinated as they go about their seemingly normal daily rituals and social transactions. Whether in the privacy of their homes or in the workplace, women carry out a role designed and imposed on them by their culture and society. Sexism, the outright discrimination on the basis gender, became evident as the operating rule that defined how women should move about in society. For many years, Shirley Chisholm, New York’s representative in the U. S.

Congress, commenting on the uphill efforts of the body to pass bills for women’s equity even in these modern times stated “While racial discrimination has been recognized as one of the social blights in our society, many of our citizens still do not believe that sexism is a problem” Patterns of education and training, employment practices, sexual relationships, family roles, society’s attitude toward women, even the psychological orientation of women themselves, all became clear as elements of a social system which regarded women as inferior.

The inferior status of women is well documented in the literature world: in history, philosophy, religion, anthropology, literature and education. It is very clear that in America, women are performing a lion’s share in the growth and development of the nation. An ideal society acknowledges the strength of women in the light of development. In a welfare state, one can undeniably say that education played a vital role in the present juncture of development in the U.

S. This research paper aims to discuss how different groups of women affected by education between 1800s until the present day. Specifically, to be able to know the roles of women before and after education take place in their lives. Colonial Period During this period, most education was informal and set in the homes by parents and businesses. Teaching religion was the basic education where most children learned to read and write and generally operated by churches.

Tutorial set-up was only afforded by upper and middle class families and most of the students were white and male. Schooling was irregular and lasted no more than a month because teaching was a low-status occupation carried out by just males so they needed extra income during the non-school months. Education of women was given low priority and the introduction to early marriage acted as a grievous pitfall on the way of education. Women were not given formal education resulting to their illiteracy since they were destined to stay at home rearing children.

It was the pride of the middle-class women who belonged to a family with a steady income that provides the means to live reasonably and secure life (Rosenthal 2000) to become master of the household intended to serve the family who were responsible to take care of children and do household chores such as to cook, clean the house, weave and sew clothes for the family. On the other hand, working class women had to nurture both their families and financial expenses through working outside their home.

African Americans were the less fortunate slaves captured from Africa enforced to plant and harvest crops (Perry 1989) and unlike women in the urban areas, Native Americans also called the Indians where isolated and dispersed along the countryside had their own cultures, traditions and languages as well. They had no voice and freedom to express themselves of what they or might want to do since their world evolved only in the corners of their houses hearing nothing but to uphold the husband-father’s dominance in a traditional or ideal family.

1800s Industrialization commenced as well as increased in literacy rate among women. Society recognized the values of female nurturance as well as discipline in education (Boyle) and women engaged themselves in different social and institutional reforms during this period. For as many women as there are viewing their world through the teachings of the discipline, there will be as many interpretations and as many responses.

Native Americans educational policies were among the most destructive (Rosenthal 2000) because they were separated from their native languages. Young women were taken to enroll in American Schools where they were not allowed to go home for years. Teaching instructions were done in English language only and they were forced not to speak their native languages which damaged and departed them from their inherited cultures. Though profound change in knowledge was successful, it was a cultured shock for the natives since they grew up with their natural dialects.

As slaves, African-American women were prevented to learn the basic education such as to read and write but in the late 1800s, they started on informal education through self-help activities handled by different organizations. Many upper and middle class women accepted the ideas of Darwinian that led awakened minds out from the traditional pessimistic idea as family-home-centered to a more creative and artistic self-expression talents through active participation in technical aspects of construction, decoration and literature.

They endured on proper advice and formal training by professionals in the field of nutrition, sanitation and child care. They concentrated on their new artistic creativity of room decoration and food preparation that expressed femininity. In 1850, equal literacy rates between white males and females was achieved, women started out engaging substantial functions in basic education. Teaching was split into two: female taught little children while male assigned to older children held in classrooms unlike before which was informal and detained at home.

Over the next decades, demands for teachers increased which served as the stepping stone for women to influence and inclined in the profession of education. US increased major changes in immigration and industrialization as well as education system. Women became stable in the field of teaching and schooling became formal. Female teachers were considered more desirable than male teachers because their pliability and willingness to work for low wages made them ideal for the new uniform system of universal schooling (Boyle) . 1900s

Women’s roles in American society underwent gradual but definite growth, spurred on by a rapidly changing society (Pegues 1998) but education did not assure most women into finding a high compensated job during the early period. Racial transformation took place where women became advocates of human rights especially concerning women rights. Native Americans struggled to redefine their relationship with the US government (Senese 1991) then Indian Policy was formulated that enabled to separate and developed Indian competency through education.

After the World War II, they were released from control of the US government due to educational development and competency programs of industrial and community services that led to the emergence of numerous vocational schools which developed educational competency among Indians. By the early 1970s, women still experienced discrimination since many social obstacles prevented them from achieving higher positions in the educational system including miscommunication and lack of mentorship with others.

African-American women contributed to the existence of self-help organizations that offer leadership trainings in many areas especially education. The institutionalization of multiculturalism and of greater diversity in university curricula are in part the result of the successful establishment of African-American women’s studies and other course about heretofore marginalized groups (Jones-Wilson 1996) . Movements of women’s started addressing the problems like violence, property rights, legal status, political participation and rights of minority women.

In late of nineteenth century, women obtained higher education for personal interests and took up degrees they want that fit their interests, talents, skills and desires. Women who are graduates of a bachelor’s degree still continue to further their knowledge and learning by enrolling to postgraduate courses. Education of women today is very far unlike the past centuries where earning college diploma is now part of being a woman to be used in the future as means for self-sufficiency, financial source and career profession. A major achievement of the women’s movement in the U.

S. is the development and creation campus-based Women Studies which has taken on the task of raising the consciousness of women toward the feminist vision. Women Studies are academic programs originated in a number of emancipatory movements and revolutionary impulses in recent times which see the multiple realities of women in both private and public spheres. Feminist consciousness is one expression of women’s unique view of social reality. This awakening which is a mental and emotional process is affected in the movement through consciousness-raising sessions. Present Day

Modern women of the century receive high quality education and equal rights as men do. They are eager to new developments and learning and so their outlook in life is very optimistic. Women nowadays are visibly seen participating with the latest technology and social activities of the community. They are not afraid to express their feelings and personal needs in public sessions hence education molded their minds to fight back when they are in trouble. CONCLUSION In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of women and it needs no emphasis that education plays a very crucial role in the process of women’s empowerment.

The existence of many forms of feminism to different groups of women were informed by various social and traditions and motivated by different social, political and educational viewpoints. Therefore, educational facilities provided to women should take into account their special needs such as employment oriented education and diversified vocational training.


Boyle, Elizabeth. http://web. mit. edu/wgs/prize/eb04. html Clark, Clifford Edward. The American Family Home, 1800-1960. North Carolina: The University of North Carolina Press, 1986. Jones-Wilson, Faustine C. Encylopedia of African-American Education.

Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996. Pegues, Emily S. “Great Expectations : The Impact of Education on Women’s Roles in Society”, http://www. dean. sbc. edu/pegues. html Perry, Marvin. A History of the World. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1989. Rosenthal, Judith W. ed. Handbook of Undergraduate Second Language Education. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000. Senese, Guy B. Self-determination and Social Education of Native Americans. New York: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1991. “Title IX : Interview With Chisholm” Harvard Educational Review 49, no. 4 (1979): 505.

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