Teaching Modules


The New Era: 1920s

Lesson Development: Instructional Input


Why the need for a revolution in women’s education? What were the various views regarding the advancement of women’s education in the 1920s, especially for minority women?

Prior to this lesson, we have been discussing the general, major reasons for the growing focus on women’s education during this time period. During the mid-to-late 19th century, women were not being admitted to most institutions of higher education. Consequently, women stressed a need for some form of higher education in the years to follow. Yesterday, we touched on the growth of women’s colleges in America. Today, we will see how/if one women’s college in particular (Bryn Mawr) started a revolution in women’s education by opening its doors to women factory workers in the summer of 1921.

Many of these women workers had been deprived, mostly through economic circumstances, of any schooling beyond the most elementary grades. Stemming from the notion that the public school system did not adequately provide for workers, Bryn Mawr Summer School sought to stimulate new workers’ education activities throughout the U.S. by adding practical knowledge and experience to what they deemed necessary to learnShow clip from Bryn Mawr Summer School video. Ask students to pay attention to the various perspectives represented in this video, especially from minority women. This video will transition into next activity.

(15 minutes)