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Masons within reach stretched out their arms to shake her hand in congratulation; in so doing one said, "Mademoiselle, you have proved in your own person the equality of woman."
AN Italian lady, Signora Giuditta Viappiani, has made a discovery by which the inner leaf of the Indian corn plant hitherto only used as litter for cattle, or at best to stuff mattresses, may be made the means of a new industry for Italian peasant women. It was exhibited at the National Exhibition at Milan.
The Cronista di Caserta says of it. "This industry was with reason much commended because it offers the means of an honorable subsistence to so many peasant women who have hitherto wandered about the country thieving. The raw material is everywhere abundant, and the cost is almost nil; it is useful for many purposes, and women and even girls of tender years can easily undertake it, and even those who from deformity or physical defects cannot apply themselves to laborious agricultural labours.
"Signora Viappiani selects the inner leaves which are the whitest, and being more pliable are fittest for manipulation. These are moistened and divided into pliable strips, for which the disposition of the fibres peculiarly adapts them. Out of these strips strings more or less thick can be twisted, according to the kind of work required, but they are always equally thick from beginning to end, and so tenacious that they require considerable strength to separate them. These strings are extremely elastic and pliable, and being of a pale whitish colour can be dyed any kind of beautiful tints.
"On seeing one of these balls of thread it is impossible to guess of what material they are formed; from this thread Signora Viappiani has twisted a cloth or net of coarse meshes. This cloth may be used to make large beautiful awnings against the sun, carpets, &c. The threads being of an ivory white colour and very elastic have been used by more than one lady to ornament summer dresses. Hats for men and women can also be made of it, which by their size, joined with a certain lightness, are a much better defence from the sun than straw hats; they may be bent, or put into one's pocket, &c., without injuring the shape, exactly like panama hats, and may be easily washed, without losing anything of their pristine beauty.
"The industrious exhibitor deserves praise for the new and useful manufacture imagined and proposed by her, and we only regret that she has not been able to give information relative to the cost of her productions offered, and not as an existing manufacture, for the lady is no professional manufacturer, but simply an amateur, who in the hours of leisure left from household cares busies herself in useful work for the country-people. If, possibly, manufacture by hand is too costly, we do not doubt that by employing mechanical means for certain parts of the work, the new industry may become of real practical utility. Signora Viappiani has the merit of the original idea and manufacturers will not fail to take it up."
A NEW COMPOSER.-At the New Theatre of Florence a piece, the "Congiura di Chevreuse," by a French composer, Madame Thy, has been successfully produced. She was called ten times before the cur
tain. A polacca for the soprano, a romance for the baritone, and a prelude to a romance for the tenor were particularly applauded.
SOME of the most eminent academical teachers of medicine in Russia have given a deliberate preference in choosing assistants to certain ladies who have given proof of genuine scientific attainments, both in practice and literature. During the last few years the numbers of female students of the medical faculty have risen to 400. The reactionary party believes, or feigns to believe, that the education of a woman as a physician is almost one and the same thing as convertiug her into a Nihilist, and it is now pressing for Government interference with the admission of women to the medical course. The new War Minister has "advised "-which possibly means commanded-the professors to dismiss all their female assistants and to employ men; and in the military hospitals orders are given to exclude women students.
FRAULEIN AMELY BOLTE writing to the Woman's Journal says, that in the University of Tübingen which numbers about 1,200 students, and 120 professors, and is distinguished for theology and medicine, a lady is actually attending the Collegia of the students. This is the more gratifying as the University of Leipzig having discussed the question of women's right to college instruction recently decided against them. The innovator is the wife of an American student. "The inhabitants of Tübingen saw, to their great astonishment, a student arriving with a fair lady as his companion, wife and helpmate, who was going to share in his labours and to cheer his home. She would have liked to accompany him to the lecture room, but he knew too well the German prejudice to let her venture on such a step. Thus some months passed, when the young couple became acquainted with some of the professors, who could not but admire a young woman, in every sense of the word a desirable companion. When she had gained their favour, he let drop a word now and then which told of her disappointment at not being admitted to the lectures. One of the professors gallantly replied that although the laws of the University spoke not of female students, yet there existed no prohibition of their entering those sacred rooms, and certainly he had a right to invite, either to his class or to his house, whomsoever it pleased him to admit. Therefore, if she liked to accompany her husband, nothing stood in the way.
"She did not let herself twice be told to come. She came at once. And the students? They looked somewhat astonished; yet seeing the fair lady quietly take her seat by the side of her husband, and devote all her attention to the lecturer, they followed her example, and soon became accustomed to this Frau Studentin. The professor, after some time, made the remark that his students attended the lectures with more assiduity since a lady was the sharer, and altogether behaved much more like gentlemen."
THE question of the Medical Education of Women has just gained an important step in America. The great Harvard University which has held aloof so long, has just accepted a legacy left to it on condition that women be allowed the free use of the Medical School.
In a letter to the South Wales Daily News January 31st, Mrs. Hoggan points out that university education for women in Wales, the need of which was so earnestly pointed out by the education commission, will be more easily obtained by a system of co-education, than by establishing a separate college. She says:
The question of higher education is now a burning one in Wales, and it is satisfactory to know that there are many who desire to see the Principality take its proper place side by side with England, Scotland, and Ireland, in affording to the youth of both sexes those educational advantages without which they must be left behind in the race of life, notwithstanding their naturally good abilities, and, in some respects, more than average aptitude, to say nothing of the loss which all incur who miss the refining influences of culture and the intellectual enjoyments which spring from it. It seems certain that at the new University College for South Wales, wherever located, provision will be made for the admission of female students. This brings us at once to the consideration of the co-education of the sexes, and it may be useful to review briefly what has been done in this direction in America and other countries, to see how far the conditions and results are likely to be similar in Wales, and what safeguards are needed to ensure the success of the system there.
In the United States the now common, but by no means universal, system of co-education grew out of the needs of the people and not out of any pre-conceived notion of superior utility. Poor and scattered settlements could not afford more than one teacher, and often not that for more than a few months in the year. The choice, therefore, lay between sending girls to the common school, or not sending them to school at all, so of course the first alternative was adopted. At first all common schools were taught by men, but gradually this also changed; and since the American war, which thinned so lamentably the ranks of male teachers, women have been employed in increasing numbers, and with marked success, as teachers of mixed schools, as well as of girls' and infants' schools. At the present time they far outnumber the male teachers.
University co-education was a very natural outcome of co-education in the common school. The means of the supporters of the Western Colleges did not admit of their keeping up a separate staff of professors for their daughters, and yet they were shrewd enough to see that higher education for clever, promising girls would be not only an intellectual benefit, but also a commercial advantage to them. Women were, therefore, admitted first to Oberlin, where co-educa
tion has now been carried on for nearly half a century with acknowledged success, and afterwards to other colleges. This system is growing in favour in the United States, although it has not interfered with the simultaneous growth of special colleges for women, of which Vassar College is the best known, and one of the most successful. We well remember to have read many years ago the account given by a French delegate, officially sent to enquire into the working of University co-education in America. He went, as he himself confessed, imbued with the strongest prejudice against it, and believing that it must inevitably lead to the gravest abuses; but he was constrained, after wandering night after night round the precincts of one of the colleges, in the expectation of discovering clandestine meetings between the students of different sex, to admit that he was mistaken, that no disorders occurred, and that the results he witnessed were of the most favourable kind. President Angell, of the Michigan University, expressed himself as follows, in 1880:"After nine years' experience in co-education, we have become so accustomed to see women take up any kind of university work, carry it on successfully, graduate in good health, cause no embarrassment in the administration of the institution, and awaken no especial solicitude in the minds of their friends or of their teachers, that many of the theoretical discussions of co-education, by those who have had no opportunity to examine it carefully, read strangely to us here on the ground. It is a cause of sincere congratulation that both in this country and Europe the opportunities for women to obtain as extended an education as men are rapidly multiplying.'
In Switzerland women have for the last fifteen years been admitted without restriction as university students, and have attended the mixed classes of the medical and other faculties. At Zurich the second woman student, and the first from Great Britain, was a Welshwoman. Some of the preliminary classes in natural science are very large, and include students both from the University and the Polytechnic (the great technical school of the Swiss Federation). One of the most eminent professors of the medical faculty, when written to by an Edinburgh professor on the subject, gave it as his experience of the results of admitting women students to the university, that the general tone of the students had been improved; and when, in consequence of a political agitation in which Russian students of both sex were involved, the Russian Government recalled by special ukase the Russian women students, the medical faculty of the university of Zurich publicly protested against the wrong done to deserving students by that act. In Holland, when the first woman doctor (then a girl of seventeen) wished to study medicine, she and her father made application to the head of the Educational Department, and permission was granted her to attend a public grammar school, there to pursue the necessary preliminary studies. In France women are admitted to all the university teaching on a perfect footing of equality with men, and no subject is taught in separate classes. In England there are many mixed classes for university teaching, but the preference appears so far to have been for separate classes for women, although, wherever the experiment of co-education has been tried with English students, it has been perfectly successful.
ENGLISH WOMAN'S REVIEW.
No. CVII.-MARCH 15TH, 1882.
ART. I. THE HOUSE OF LORDS AND THE SHOP HOURS REGULATION BILL.
THE news of the withdrawal of the Earl of Stanhope's Bill for the Regulation of Shop Hours sounds in the ears of the women who have already a hard struggle to earn for themselves a sufficient livelihood, like a reprieve from capital sentence. For one year longer they may bring their labour to the same open market as men do, and possess equal freedom to make the best bargain they can for themselves. "Protection" sleeps for another session, but next year the danger will menace us again, and new efforts must be made to secure for women that freedom of contract from legislative control, under which alone labour can be carried on successfully.
The Bill to regulate the Hours of Labour in Shops and Warehouses provided that "whereas many women and young persons are grievously injured in health, by reason of the present labour in shops and warehouses for the sale of textile fabrics and articles of wearing apparel, after the first of January next, no such shops where women and young persons are employed should be open for more than ten hours in each day," though to meet the exigencies of the season trade, the Secretary of State for the Home Department might grant an extension of time of two hours to any establishment