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Edited by Robert W. Dimand, Mary Ann Dimand and Evelyn L. Forget
53 Barbara Bodichon (1827–91) Barbara Bodichon is most noted for her role during the 1850s and 1860s in initiating in Britain a movement to gain economic and political independence for women. She was the inspirational, if not always actual, leader of a group of women who were among the earliest to agitate for women’s property, marriage and voting rights, as well as better-quality education for women and their improved access to the workplace. Her major written contributions to economics generally supported the ideas of the classical economists, but emphasized women’s rights. Bodichon’s early unconventional life, in which her father treated her equally with his sons, provided her with a good education and endowed her with enough income for ﬁnancial independence (see Herstein, 1985; Burton, 1949). She used her ﬁnancial resources to attend Bedford College, one of the few colleges then open to women. When she was 22 her education led her to read with great interest John Stuart Mill’s Principles of Political Economy. Although she absorbed most of the ideas of the classical economists, she was critical of Mill for neglecting the plight of women and the laws concerning them. Convinced of the importance of educating women, in 1854 she opened her own coeducational school for children. In 1860 she presented a paper on the deﬁciencies of education for middle-class women and girls to the National Association for the Promotion of Social Sciences, which was printed in the English Woman’s Journal later in the year (Herstein, 1985, p....
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