Winning the right to education has been one of the central struggles in the broader movement for women’s equality. This month, in celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8th, OISE Library has a special display dedicated to the stories of women all over the globe who have fought for – and in many cases, continue to fight for – their right to learn.
Several titles — such as Transforming Global Higher Education: A Feminist Perspective and Feminist Popular Education in Transnational Debates — take a global view, examining issues for women in education on an international scale. Other titles, meanwhile, highlight the development of education for women in specific national and cultural contexts, from the Philippines and Ireland to Pakistan, India, and Papua New Guinea.
A common theme among these diverse titles is that even after women have secured formal rights to education, they continue to face challenges both inside the classroom as well as outside of it. This is often especially problematic in the case of racially marginalized groups of women, as explored in titles such as Teaching Black Girls: Resiliency in Urban Classrooms, Educated for Change? Muslim Refugee Women in the West, and Seen but Not Heard: Aboriginal Women and Women of Colour in the Academy. However, there are many stories of women’s successes in changing their education systems from within, such as those featured in Women of Colour and the Multicultural Curriculum: Transforming the College Classroom.
The history of women as teachers is another important part of women’s legacy in education. Essays in Women and Teaching: Global Perspectives on the Feminization of a Profession reflect on the gendered nature of teaching work, while Girls Becoming Teachers: An Historical Analysis of Western Australian Women Teachers, 1911-1940 looks at the development of the profession within one country. A very special perspective on the role of women as teachers is offered in the documentary For the Next 7 Generations, which brings together “thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers from all four corners” of the world for a historic gathering to share their message of healing and a renewed relationship between humans and our planet.
Of course, it is impossible to truly understand the global without returning to that which is closer to home. Titles such as Chalk, Challenge and Change: Stories from Women Teachers in Ontario, 1920-1979 and Minds of Our Own: Inventing Feminist Scholarship and Women’s Studies in Canada and Quebec, 1966-76 remind us of the interconnectedness of Canadian women in education with their sisters elsewhere. Alongside these, Finding My Talk: How Fourteen Native Women Reclaimed their Lives After Residential School is a powerful testament to a terrible history in Canada’s education system that should never be forgotten.
These books will be on display on the Ground Floor (next to the elevator) all during March! All titles on display are available for borrowing; please ask a Service Desk staff member for assistance.