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Mary Lyon's Fight for Women's Education


Becky in front of Mt. Holyoke college
Being a girl in the 1800s was not easy. Girls were not allowed to vote, wear pants, or even learn go to school for more than a few years.

Can you imagine what it would be like if no matter how good you were in school you still weren't allowed to go to college, just because you were a girl? Some women decided they didn't like this, so they decided to start their own colleges just for women.

A pioneer in women's higher education
Mary Lyon was one of those women. She was born on a farm in 1797. Her father died when she was five, leaving her mother to raise the children and tend the farm. Mary got good grades in school, even though she also had to work really hard at home. She loved learning so much she became a teacher.

Mary wanted girls to be able to go to college, so she started the first women's college in America. While she was trying to raise the money she needed, a lot of people laughed at her. They thought it was a waste for women to go to school. Still, she kept trying until she was able to start a school for women. It was called Mount Holyoke.

See how fun it was to be in college?
Life in college wasn't easy. Everyone got up at 5 am. The students cooked, cleaned, and learned in the classroom. They had to work so that they wouldn't have to pay too much to go to the school. Still, lots of women wanted to attend Mount Holyoke.

Eleanor Roosevelt visits Holyoke
Soon, a lot more women's colleges were opened. Schools like Smith, Vassar, and Radcliff started because so many women wanted to go to college. Mary Lyon and Mount Holyoke started it all.

a present day woman studies at Mt Holyoke
Now, girls can go to school for as long as they want. They can wear pants if they want to, and when they're old enough they can vote. How long do you think it will be before we have a woman president?


Every car on the Odyssey has a name...


Please email me at: teddy@ustrek.org


Links to Other Dispatches

Rebecca - Get out of the kitchen! It's time for equal rights! Or is it?
Kevin - It's my last name and I'll keep it if I want to!
Daphne - Stirring the cauldron of equality
Rebecca - What's got 7 layers of clothes and a broken ribs?