Women in Education A Look at Southern Arizona in the Early 20th Century

Women in Education A Look at Southern Arizona in the Early 20th Century

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Women in Education A Look at Southern Arizona in the Early 20th Century

Once part of the early western frontier, southern Arizona has undergone many changes in regards to its principles and ideals throughout the years. Women have played a large role in this changing of principles and ideals, creating rights that they deserved but did not always have. One such right is the right to present and obtain a good education through the home and the public system. During the early 20th century there has been a conscious move by society to allow for a greater opportunity for women to become better educated and to educate others. This form of a women's movement began in the home and pushed its way through the public system. We have the men and women in southern Arizona of the early 20th century to thank for the opportunities in education presented to both genders, but more specifically women, in the present day.

It is important to say why education is such a necessity. History has shown that the more educated person is the one who survives the longest, is more successful in business, and overall enjoys life more than a person who is non-educated. Women have not always been offered a good education because education brings on new ways of thinking, and in a male dominated society (such as the U.S. was in the early 20th century) this can create havoc in the home and in society. Just as slave owners in the south did not want their slaves to become educated for fear of rebellion, this male dominated society did not want women to become educated because they would want more and more of what the men had. In its most basic form, not providing an education to women was a method of suppression. Fortunately though, w...


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...d education was available to all genders. "As soon as we got accustomed to our work, the difference of sex had no bearing on our decisions. But it is doubtful if anyone else, besides ourselves, realized this." (Elsie Toles 1974) It was not an easy road to travel but these women took the time to put their hearts into something that was worth establishing - a better system of education for all people in Arizona.

Works Cited

Arizona Historical Society. Elsie Toles. MS # 789.

"Elsie Toles: First Woman State Superintendent of Schools of Arizona." Cochise Quarterly. Dec (1974): 21-25.

Peplow, Edward H. "Territorial Arizona's Struggle to Found a School System." Arizona Days and Ways Magazine. (March 6, 1960): 44-45, 47.

Wells, Reba. "Cora Viola Howell Slaughter - Southern Arizona Ranchwoman." The Journal of Arizona History. (1989): 391-415.

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