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Modern MotherhoodWomen and Family in England, 1945-2000$
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Angela Davis

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780719084553

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719084553.001.0001

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Educating mothers: family, school and antenatal education

Educating mothers: family, school and antenatal education

(p.56) 3 Educating mothers: family, school and antenatal education
Modern Motherhood

Angela Davis

Manchester University Press

This chapter addresses the process of educating women to be mothers. It asks whether commentators in these decades, and women themselves, felt that they needed to be taught how to mother or whether they thought it came naturally to them. It then considers the debate about where this instruction should take place, and who should provide it: home, school, or medical professionals. The chapter charts how changing attitudes about the roles women should be performing, both at a governmental and societal level, determined how girl were educated to become adult women. Through an analysis of the oral history interviews the influence of these national debates on individual experiences is shown. Three principal discursive models surrounding education for motherhood are discussed: motherhood as innate, commonsensical, or a skill that needed to be learnt.

Keywords:   Motherhood, Girlhood, Family, School, Sex education, Domestic science, Antenatal education

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