Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
Education and Feminine Emancipation in Portugal: Struggles for the Creation of a School for Girls (1874-1887)
Wenceslau Gonçalves Neto, Justino Magalhães, Carlos Henrique de Carvalho

Última modificación: 2017-07-17


In this study, Portuguese education between 1874 and 1887 were highlighted, at a time when illiteracy reached 80% of the population (1878), female sex more severely: in the North, 33% of men reported being able to read against only 7.6% of women (RAMOS, 1988).

In a previous analysis (GONÇALVES NETO; MAGALHÃES, 2009), with documentation of Torre do Tombo (DIREÇÃO), it was shown the initiative of businessman João Rodrigues de Oliveira Santos in 1874, of build and furnish a house that "offer to serve as royal school for girls in this parish [of S. Vicente de Pereira]”. The institution would attend to the daughters of the women who worked in their hat factory. This attitude provoked great excitement in the parish and the city of Ovar involving, on the one hand and contrary to the proposal, private citizens, the Administrator of the Municipality and the Municipality of Ovar and, finally, also the Parish Council of S. Vicente de Pereira; and, on the other, and favorable, the petitioner, the Commissioner of Studies and the Civil Governor of Aveiro. The dispute lasted 2 years and, despite a favorable ruling in the Advisory Board of Public Instruction, it was not possible to know if the school had been implemented.

The current research, using documentation from Municipal Archive of Ovar and Parish of São Vicente de Pereira, allowed to prove the opening of the school and better understand the divergences. The school was approved, but thirteen years after the process start. O Ovarense reports: "Recently, the Chamber decided to create a school for girls, in the parish of S. Vicente de Pereira, in agreement and with the help of our well-known fellow citizen, Mr. João Rodrigues of Oliveira Santos, a wealthy capitalist of that parish, who has rendered valuable services to his land, and which many more would render if shameful circumstances had not prevented him"(MELHORAMENTO, 1887).

It was possible to perceive that the previous hypotheses were correct: the local disputes stopped the process of opening of the school. And this brings us to new reflections on the complexity of the schooling process that was intended at that time in Portugal. Despite the seemingly homogeneous discourse in government documents, press and municipal administration, about the need to overcome illiteracy and to open schools, it is noted that these ideas do not generate consensus within the politics and local interests. The disputes in parishes and municipalities were intense, not allowing a common or supra-party agenda, even in matters such as primary education. It also refers to the need to deepen the studies around the municipal sphere to understand the movement that unfolds in the country around issues relevant to the nation and the community, such as the case of primary education and girls instruction in particular. At the end, common sense establishes itself and the school becomes reality: a simple victory, punctual, but illustrates the dimension of the struggle for primary education - to girls - in the nineteenth century in Portugal.