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School board women and active citizenship in Scotland, 1873-1919

McDermid, Jane (2009) School board women and active citizenship in Scotland, 1873-1919 History of Education, 38, (3), pp. 333-347. (doi:10.1080/00467600902859761).

Record type: Article


Although the number of women who served on Scotland's school boards (1873-1918) was not large, they made the case for female representation on public bodies both through their electoral campaigns and their record of office. Many were simultaneously active on parish and town councils and in feminist causes, with a few in the labour movement from the 1890s. Some were honoured for their work by being made Fellows of the Educational Institute of Scotland which, though opposed to school boards, recognised that these women not only made important contributions to local politics but cumulatively, and in a few instances personally, had an impact on Scotland as a whole. A significant number were members for between three and seven terms (nine to 21 years) and some continued to stand for election in the 1920s when educational authorities replaced school boards, supported first by the Association for Promoting Lady Candidates at School Board and Parochial Elections, and subsequently by women citizens' associations. School board women propounded a civic maternalism through their advocacy of social reforms, but working across the committee structures enabled them to help shape policy more generally. Their service was local but the wider aim was to secure representation of women in national and indeed imperial affairs. Their strategy of putting forward a 'ladies' platform' in elections may have reinforced traditional notions of women's place but, through their campaigns for and service on school boards, these women set an example of active citizenship

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More information

Published date: May 2009
Keywords: school boards, women, citizenship, scotland, education


Local EPrints ID: 73478
ISSN: 0046-760X
PURE UUID: c8a41383-493e-48e8-9a6a-c52ce97af253

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Date deposited: 09 Mar 2010
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 23:49

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