The rise of women's education in the United States and Korea: A struggle for educational and occupational equality.

Kim BS; Rowe KE
Asian Journal of Women's Studies. 1997 Jun 30; 3(2):[25] p..

When, why, and how did women in the United States and Korea become educated? Although independent studies have documented the rise of education for women in each country, no analysis has yet compared how in these seemingly dissimilar cultures education became not an oddity for women but a modern necessity. Although the revolution in women's education resulted from and gave rise to profound ideological shifts in both countries, it took its roots as well in radical political and economic changes that accompanied industrialization. In the United States women's education began in the post-Revolutionary period (1780-1835) with the growth of public town schools and private seminaries devoted primarily to inculcating domestic ideals, morality, and civic virtue. Mary Lyon's founding of the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in 1837 marked the advent of higher education for women, which then accelerated the push for other women's colleges, co-education, and the opening of teaching as a "feminized" profession during the mid-to late-nineteenth century. Excluded from formal education under the Yi Dynasty (1392-1910), Korean women were modestly educated in feminine morality and virtue based upon Confucian doctrines that strictly limited their roles to the domestic household. When Methodist missionary Mary Scranton founded Ewha Hakdang in 1886 for one student, it became Korea's first formal educational institution for women, subsequently offering the first college-level program in 1910, providing almost the exclusive access to higher education under Japanese colonial rule until 1945, and awarding 97% of its degrees between 1948 and 1985. Although deriving from fundamentally different backgrounds, Puritanism or evangelical Protestantism in the United States and the Confucian philosophy in Korea, the early rationales for women's education involved a similar blend of religious prescriptions, democratic and domestic imperatives, and eventually arguments for socioeconomic utility. (author's)

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