Emily Davies

Emily Davies

Davies, Emily (Sarah Emily Davies), 1830-1921, British feminist, co-founder of Girton College, Cambridge. Educated at home, she became (1862) secretary of a committee to obtain the admission of women to university examinations. Out of this undertaking grew another committee, of which she was also secretary, to form a college for women. The college was organized at Hitchin, Hertfordshire, in 1869 and in 1873 transferred to Cambridge as Girton College. Davies was mistress of the college (1873-75) and its honorary secretary until 1904. From 1866 she was closely associated with the English woman-suffrage movement and was active in organizing the first woman-suffrage petition presented to Parliament by John Stuart Mill in 1866. She wrote Higher Education of Women (1866) and Thoughts on Some Questions Relating to Women (1910).

See D. Bennett Emily Davies and the Liberation of Women, 1830-1921 (1990).

This article is about the women's education advocate. For the pottery decorator, whose married name was Emily Grace Davies, see Grace Barnsley
Sarah Emily Davies (22 April 183013 July 1921) was an English feminist, suffragist and a pioneering campaigner for women's rights to university access. She was born in Southampton, England to an evangelical clergyman and a teacher in 1830, although she spent most of her youth in Gateshead.

In 1862, after the death of her father, Davies moved to London, where she edited a feminist publication, The Englishwoman's Journal, and became friends with women's rights advocates Barbara Bodichon, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and her younger sister Millicent Fawcett. Davies became a founder member of a women's discussion group, the Kensington Society.

Davies began campaigning for a woman's right to education. She was active on the London School Board and in the Schools Inquiry Commission and was instrumental in obtaining the admission of girls to official secondary school examinations.

She then advocated for the admission of women to the Universities of London, Oxford and Cambridge. Like all universities at this time, these were exclusively male domains.

She also became involved in the Suffrage movement, which centred on a woman's right to vote. She was involved in organizing for John Stuart Mill's 1866 petition to the British Parliament) which was the first to ask for women's suffrage. That same year, she also wrote the book The Higher Education of Women.

In 1869, Davies led the founding of Britain's first women's college, Girton College at Hitchin, Hertfordshire. In 1873, the institution moved to Cambridge, Cambridgeshire. From 1873 to 1875, Davies served as mistress of the college, where she then served as Secretary until 1904. The college did not become part of Cambridge University and begin granting full degrees until 1940.

Davies also continued her suffrage work. In 1906, she headed a delegation to Parliament. She was known for opposing the militant and violent methods used by the Suffragette part of the women's suffrage movement, led by the Pankhursts.

In 1910, Davies published Thoughts on Some Questions Relating to Women. She died in 1921.

See also

History of feminism

External links and references

Further reading

  • Sarah Emily Davies, The Higher Education of Women [1866], Adamant Media Corporation (2006), ISBN 0543982920
  • Daphne Bennett - Emily Davies and the Liberation of Women (André Deutsch, 1990) ISBN 0-233-98494-1
  • Ann B. Murphy and Deirdre Raftery (eds) - Emily Davies: Collected Letters, 1861-1875 (University of Virginia Press, 2003) ISBN 0-8139-2232-1
  • Barbara Nightingale Stephen - Emily Davies and Girton College (Hyperion, 1976) ISBN 0-88355-282-5
  • Forster, Margaret. Significant Sisters, Secker and Warburg, 1984 ISBN 0-14-008172-0

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