Pacific University Archives Exhibits

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Co-education

This exhibit focuses upon the theme of the co-education of women and men. While Pacific University had, from the beginning, supported the idea of co-education, the university did not in fact make this fact highly public. The early university is one in which the founders wanted the students to share equal access to an education, so that they could become better for society beyond the university. Social norms of the 19th century did not see women and men as equals.

While men were viewed as the breadwinners of the family, women were seen as heads of the household. Thus the courses in the women's and men's course agenda, though very similar, had some different modifications. Women were given only three years of education, whereas men usually had four years of education. Men’s early education had an extra bonus to the higher sciences, that the women were not geared toward, while even their focus in the humanities was geared toward establishing specific social expectations from the outside community.