The general registrar reported that 45% of woken had been unable to sign their own names on their marriage certificate. The level pf proper education was generally low across the whole spectrum of the classes. It was normal for upper and middle class girls to be taught at home by a governess or tutor and to learn “ladylike accomplishments ” such as drawing, sewing, dancing playing the piano. Middle class parents were quite uninterested in an academic education for their daughters.
In the early part of the nineteenth centaury emphasis was placed on religious teaching, things started to change around the 1850’s and 1860’s when private day schools and boarding schools grew and flourished in response to the changing economic and social needs. For upper and middle class women changes began to occur around 1867 when they started become very dissatisfied with their lives. Fed up with not being able to express themselves and use their brains. One of the most dramatic changes in the nineteenth century was women uniting and rising up against the political system of Britain. One of these women was Louisa Twining who was the organiser of the Workhouse Reform Act.
She was constructive in having some of the worst workhouses abolished particularly after 1875 when an act was passed that enabled women to become Poor Law Guardians. Other changes in women’s political standing started in 1867 when The London Society for Women’s Suffrage was founded to press the case of women to get the vote in Parliamentary Elections. However certain democratic institutions, that barred women, in actual fact helped to politicise them.
As women were denied from voting, when working class men were given the vote in 1867 this was considered infuriating who thought of themselves as superior. So women responded by creating their own groups and uniting all over the country to create national organisations. The results of this were a women’s movement of considerable power and effectiveness. This emerged around the 1880’s onwards to fight for married women’s control of their own property, child custody, and the fight for women’s suffrage. For the remaining part of the nineteenth century women did their utmost to advance the cause for women’s rights but sadly to no avail.