Democracy's Angels: The Work of Women Teachers
Following the Second World War, women teachers filled a labour shortage in schools and Canadian newspapers rushed to feature their presence. One caption even called the teachers "pretty enough to send dad to school with junior." Envisioned as shining examples of "proper" femininity, female educators were expected to produce a new generation of housewives for a strong democratic nation. Democracy's Angels is a daring exploration of the limitations of that vision, which ultimately confined women to teaching a model of citizenship that privileged masculinity and reduced women’s authority. In an analytical tour-de-force, Kristina Llewellyn unravels the ideological underpinnings of democracy as the objective for postwar education. Schools were charged with producing rational, autonomous, politically engaged citizens, but women were not associated with these qualities. Claims to scholarly knowledge, professional autonomy, and administrative positions were reserved for male teachers. Using rigorous interdisciplinary scholarship and extensive interviews with former teachers, Llewellyn reveals the ways in which women negotiated and even found opportunities within these troubling limitations. An unflinching look at the difficult realities of women's work experiences in postwar Canada, Democracy's Angels illustrates the intrinsic connections between gender, education, and democracy.
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