Title

Gendered Spaces and Political Identity: debating societies in English women's colleges, 1890-1914

Publication Date

2009

Document Type

Article

Abstract

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, debating political questions in spaces like the Oxford and Cambridge University Unions proved inspirational for ‘Oxbridge’ men, but these doors were closed to women. Although women were denied full membership to these Unions, female students practiced the art of debate in political and debating societies created within their own colleges. This article chronicles the construction of a political education for women through the use of debating societies in women’s colleges at Oxford and Cambridge universities and the University of London. Women’s active participation in these societies suggests that female students were not only claiming and redefining public space, but were also establishing a collegiate political identity.

Original Citation

Wiggins, Sarah. (2009). Gendered Spaces and Political Identity: debating societies in English women's colleges, 1890-1914. Women’s History Review, 18(5), 737-752. https://doi.org/10.1080/09612020903282068