Important moments for women in education history

Reading Time: 2 minutes The Women’s Success Center reminds us of some of women’s accomplishments in the education industry over the last 300 years in honor of Women’s History Month.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In addition to providing information and resources to help women achieve their educational goals, the UVU Women’s Success Center has been organizing several events to bring this year’s Women’s History Month celebrations to campus. 

In their official announcement and invitation to all students to join the celebration, the Women’s Success Center provided a timeline of impactful moments in educational history that led to today’s inclusive environment.

It started in 1772 when Salem Academy and College was established in North Carolina, which started out as a school for young girls. “As the oldest educational institution for girls and women in America, Salem Academy and College has a proud history of fostering independence in women,” their official website states. 

In 1870, the first woman voted in the United States. Even though it was fifty years before the 19th Amendment secured the right for women to vote, Seraph Young Ford cast her vote from the Utah Territory anyway. Young was a schoolteacher who voted in Salt Lake City on her way to work. 

Frances Elizabeth Willard became the first female college president in the US in 1871. She was appointed president of Evanston College for Ladies, which is now in conjunction with Northwestern University. The Illinois college “provided mainly room, board, and supervision to female college students enrolled in Northwestern University,” states the Northwestern Archival and Manuscript Collections site. 

1904 marked the year that Maud May Babcock was promoted and officially the first full professor in Utah. She began teaching at the University of Utah in 1892.

Title IX was passed in 1972. The US Department of Education states that the title is a “Federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities.” This also outlawed sexual violence and harassment in schools. 

In the 1981-1982 school year, more women were awarded bachelor’s degrees than men, a  pattern that is reportedly still consistent. In 2022, the U.S. Census noted that 39.0% of women age 25 and older compared to 36.2% of men in the same age range had completed at least a bachelor’s degree as their highest level of education. 

Utah’s first woman college president, Dr. Peggy Stock, was appointed at Westminster College in Salt Lake City in 1995. She was the 15th president of the school. The president is currently Bethami (Beth) Dobkin, who is the second female president at the school to date. 

In 2018, Astrid S. Tuminez became the first woman to serve as UVU’s president. 

As of fall 2022, there are more female students than male students enrolled at UVU. “This is the first time more women have been enrolled in the university’s history,” reports the Women’s Success Center. 
As described in their mission statement, “The UVU Women’s Success Center guides students to and through higher education by providing an inclusion environment with personalized support to accelerate their timeline to graduation.” Email [email protected] or visit them in room 303 of the Losee Center for more.