African girls, nineteenth‐century mission education and the patriarchal imperative

Leach, Fiona (2008) African girls, nineteenth‐century mission education and the patriarchal imperative. Gender and Education, 20 (4). pp. 335-347. ISSN 0954-0253

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This paper draws on Anglican mission archive material to uncover the extent to which girls’ schooling in early nineteenth‐century West Africa developed as a response to male interests and perceived male needs. The founding of the colony of Sierra Leone in 1787 as a home for freed slaves followed by the arrival of Protestant missionaries in 1804 offers a laboratory type environment to trace the development of girls’ formal schooling in Africa. In particular, the missionaries understood the importance of educating women if Christianity was to prosper on the continent. Girls were to be educated to take their place in the new Christian monogamous family, to provide moral and practical support for men, and to bring up their children in the new faith. They were to be taught separately from boys where possible, by female teachers and with a differentiated curriculum dominated by sewing. Educational opportunities were expanded only insofar as women needed to provide fitting and accomplished marriage companions for educated men seeking to advance their careers in the new meritocratic society.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: missions, education, girls, Africa,history, patriarchy
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT History of Africa > DT0470 West Africa. West Coast
L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LA History of education
Depositing User: Michael Davy
Date Deposited: 14 May 2013 13:06
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 13:09
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