Date of Award

Fall 1991

Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Educational Policy and Leadership


Throughout history "those who would be educated" came out of the tradition and culture of a particular people at a particular time. Looking back at America's European roots, stories are familiar of the eldest son being sent away to the university, of only "nobel" women being tutored in academics, or of only Jewish males able to study the religious laws. When the colonists came to this country and began to weave a new culture, the traditions died hard but were slowly chiseled at by the prevailing spirit and law of democratization that were suppose to characterize the new land. During the 19th century, higher education slowly opened its doors to women: at first women-only college doors! Even though there were early colleges to train women as teachers dating back as early as 1821, there was not a coeducational college until 1883 when Oberlin admitted women. State universities and land grant colleges admitted females upon opening or shortly thereafter, but women tended to study "women areas" as teaching and home economics (Tittle and Denker, 1980). Male graduate study began at John Hopkins University in 1876 and by 1893 women were allowed to pursue professional and graduate studies there (Nyre & Xhonga, 1975). However, almost 100 years later at the end of the 1960's, only 9% of U.S. scientists were women, 3% lawyers, 1% judges, and 7% physicians. The medical statistics are ironic in that some countries of American roots sported much higher figures: 80% of soviet doctors were women, 50% of Polish physician, and 25% of Filipino, Finnish, Israeli, Thai, British, Swedish and German physicians (Nyre and Xhonga, 1975). For whatever reasons, the new culture being created became academically and professionally male dominated. During the middle of the 20th century, events occurred that triggered rapid changes in the American culture, especially in regard to women. World War II took women out of the homes and into the work place, the civil and equal rights movements of the 60's gave new wings to females, and by the 1970's the increased cost of living necessitated that wives work and the dual-income family was born. our culture continues to unfold with new rules for "those who would be educated." The American adult female blooms in the center of the changes being wrought.