Montreal Daily Star, 24 April 1911, page 8
SEX IN EDUCATION
Madame Curie, who has been described as the most famous living widow, has applied to a local Lycee (a secondary school hitherto reserved for boys) for permission to allow her daughter to enter the school. It remains to be seen if permission will be refused to this woman, of whom not only France but the whole world is so proud. She doubtless wishes, in thus applying for admission to a boy’s school that her daughter shall have the way of learning made smoother for her than it was for her mother. More and more as the years go by is the difference which formerly existed in the education given to boys and girls being done away with. It is realized that the girls need a thorough preparation for life just as the boys do. It is realized that a little music and drawing a superficial knowledge of languages with perhaps some cooking and embroidery thrown in, is not the best way to educate a girl for the life of to-day, a life in which she may be thrown upon the world to earn her own living. The force of circumstances has made the education of boys a practical affair. There is often fault to be found with the system of education but in spite of faults there is a deliberate attempt to prepare a boy for the business of life. Up to recent years there was no such attempt to prepare a girl. It was felt that the home was the woman’s only sphere and therefore a smattering of knowledge was all that was necessary. The evils of such a short-sighted system can be seen on all sides. In England, where the woman problem is more to the fore than here the number of women who were educated for home life and then thrown upon the world to earn a living is deplorable. What can such women do? One of the most tragic revelations of this state of affairs is to be found in Gissing’s “Old Women.” A country doctor dies suddenly and leaves his houseful of daughters absolutely unprovided for. If they had been boys they would have had an education which would have prepared them to face life, taught them to earn a living. As it was they knew nothing of any money value in the world and the story of their subsequent careers is typical of thousands of women in Great Britain. Gissing knew the world he wrote about, and this book is one of the most powerful arguments ever advanced against sex in education.