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From “Cainü” to “Nü Jiaoxi”: Female normal schools and the transformation of women’s education in the late Qing Period, 1895–1911

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Chapter Summary

By tracing the early development of girls' schools during the waning years of the Qing dynasty and the process of establishing female normal schools, this chapter argues that the rise of women's modern education was a continuity of traditional female education rather than a pioneering project of Western missionaries. Imperial China in the eighteenth century developed educational programs for female elites with ideological and pragmatic purposes. Recent scholarship suggests that some women began to gain access to education in late imperial China, especially during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. In the mid-nineteenth century, Western missionaries introduced new elements into women?s education. These new elements included establishing missionary schools for girls and sponsoring female overseas students. The rich and colorful tradition of women in literature and artistic works during the late imperial period was channeled into the sole direction of serving the nation?s needs.

Keywords: Cainü; China; female education; late Qing dynasty; Ming dynasty; Nü Jiaoxi



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