Sarah Emily Davies was born on 22nd April 1830 in Southampton, England. She helped start the first college in England for women.
Emily Davies was involved in women’s rights throughout her life. She edited a magazine which focused on women’s rights called The English Woman’s Journal, and was one of a number of like-minded women who formed The Kensington Society, a group where where they met to discuss equality issues such as the right to vote and the right to education.
Her grand passion became the campaign for equal access to education for women. In 1866 she wrote her book The Higher Education of Women explaining why she thought women should be allowed an equal eduaction. Emily and another feminist, Barbara Bodichon began raising money to open their own college for women. In 1869 Girton College was opened, becoming part of Cambridge University, and was the first residential college to admit women in England. (Although women could study at Girton, they were unable to receive a full Cambridge University degree until 1948.)
The first student to enrol at Girton was a Mrs Townsend, she said of Emily Davies:
“Her dainty little figure and smiling face were most misleading. They concealed untiring energy, a will of iron, and a very clear and definite set of opinions…She was a person of single aim who looked neither to the right hand nor to the left.”
Find out more:
You can still read Emily Davies book The Higher Education of Women
Find out more about Emily’s life here: http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Wdavies.htm
Discover more about the fight for women’s education in England here: http://herstoria.com/?p=535