Centre for the History of Women's Education News and Events

University of Winchester history of women's education research: black and white engraving of two women studying, surrounded by books

The Centre for the History of Women's Education (CHWE) is a research and knowledge exchange centre based in the Faculty of Education.

CHWE hosts annual research seminars, which are free and open to the public, and organises symposia, conferences and exhibitions. Members also participate in the annual Winchester Heritage Open Days through popular guided walks highlighting local women's histories. Explore our news and events.

2021 news and events

Latest news

New book deconstructs complex notion of ‘femininity’ 

Drawing on recent deconstructions of 'feminity' as a social, racial and class construct, this book, co-edited by CHWE Convenor Prof. Stephanie Spencer, explores how notions of femininity change across time and place, and within individual lives. The various authors discuss possibilities for new directions in research into women’s lives across time, place, and individual life histories.

Allender, Tim, Spencer, Stephanie (Eds) 2021 ‘Femininity’ and the History of Women's Education, Shifting the Frame. Palgrave Macmillan.

Latest events

8 March: International Women's Day event

To mark International Women's Day 2021, members from CHWE participated in the virtual event 'Scholarly women: an underrated and misrepresented group?', hosted by the University of Birmingham's Domus Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Histories of Education and Childhood. To find out more, visit the Domus Centre website.

Recent news and events

2019 highlights

In 2019, CHWE launched three new books:

  • Nancy Rosoff and Stephanie Spencer: British and American School Stories, 1910 - 1960: fiction, femininity, and friendship (Springer)
  • Helen Loader: Mrs Humphry Ward and Greenian Philosophy: Religion, Society and Politics (Palgrave Macmillan)
  • James Albisetti, Joyce Goodman and Rebecca Rogers: Girls' Secondary Education in the Western World from the 18th to the 20th Century Palgrave Macmillan)

The 2019 Sybil Campbell Symposium was held jointly by CHWE and the British Federation of Women Graduates. It was part of the 2019 Winchester Heritage Open Days, which, like in 2018, also featured the popular guided Winchester Women's History Walks by CHWE member Dr Sue Anderson-Faithful.

In October 2019, Dr Anderson-Faithful presented 'In the footsteps of Mary Sumner' at Winchester Cathedral. Mary Sumner was the founder of the Mothers' Union, a worldwide Anglican women's organisation. Dr Anderson-faithful explored Mary's Shropshire childhood, early married life at Farnham Castle, parochial philanthropy at Old Alresford and a visit to the Holy Land, and related her ideas on motherhood, marriage and the education of children to contemporary issues in religion, society and education. Dr Anderson-Faithful is the author of Mary Sumner: mission, education and motherhood, thinking a life with Bourdieu (2018).

2018 highlights

In 2018, CHWE welcomed Dr Meritxell Simon-Martin, who presented some elements of her article on Barbara Bodichon’s feminist pamphlet Women and Work (1857) as part of the regular CHWE seminar series. Dr Meritxell Simon-Martin completed her PhD under the supervision of Professor Stephanie Spencer and Professor Joyce Goodman. Her career has taken her across the UK and France, and most recently she has been working in South America.

Watch Dr Simon-Martin's 2018 presentation on the 1857 feminist pamphlet Women and Work

Find out more about Dr Simon-Martin

Dr Sue Anderson-Faithful shared her knowledge of local history as the guide and author of the Winchester Women’s History walk as part of the 2018 Winchester Heritage Open Days.

2017 highlights

In 2017, CHWE Convenor Stephanie Spencer was appointed Professor; she delivered her Inaugural lecture School Stories: Histories of Education in November. 

Most of us recognise the familiar genre of the ‘school story’. Many of the authors and the majority of their readers had no experience of the boarding school life that formed the backdrop to these stories, yet it was an extraordinarily popular genre in the mid-twentieth century. In this lecture, both real and imaginary school stories were revisited in order to enhance our understanding of education in the immediate post-war period. Prof. Spencer also reflected on whether such stories can, or even should, inform present and future policy planning.

Watch the full video of Prof. Spencer's Inaugural lecture:

In 2017, CHWE was also delighted to host Dr Zainab Hussaini. Zainab was born, raised and educated in Iran as an Afghan refugee. Her parents left Afghanistan shortly before she was born, during the civil war. When the conflict began, her family went to Iran. Having completed a Master’s degree at the University of Tehran, she was repatriated for the first time in her life to Afghanistan to work at Gawharshad University in Kabul. Her PhD at the University of Chester, titled Female higher education in Afghanistan – does a Western science degree make a difference to career development in Afghanistan and can it influence government policy?’, was supported by the BFWG.

For an audience of CHWE members, members of the Winchester Federation of Women Graduates and Friends of the Sybil Campbell Collection, Zainab talked about her research investigating experiences of Afghani women as they undertook professional and educational journeys. The talk took place in the University of Winchester's Martial Rose Library, where the Sybil Campbell Collection is housed. 

Women's education is a research strength at Winchester: image of external speaker Dr Zainab Hussaini and Centre for History of Women's Education members

Left to right: Dr Camilla Leach, Ellie Simpson, Prof. Joyce Goodman, Laura Watson, Dr Zainab Hussaini, Dr Sue Anderson-Faithful and Prof. Stephanie Spencer

2015 highlights

In 2015, the University celebrated its 175th anniversary. CHWE contributed to the celebrations by means of a major exhibition, held first at the Hampshire Records Office in central Winchester and then at the University, highlighting the history of the institution.

CHWE also contributed with the publication of a major book, Alumni Voices, by CHWE Convenor Prof. Stephanie Spencer and members Andrea Jacobs and Camilla Leach. Alumni Voices uses data from an oral history project focussing on the day-to-day experiences of those who studied and worked in one institution to explore a way of writing the history of higher education of the recent past. It includes testimony from many perspectives from across the power spectrum. While data from the University of Winchester are used, the book reflects many of the changes in higher education within the United Kingdom as a whole over the preceding sixty years.

Alumni Voices, published by Winchester University Press, can be purchased via our online store.