Single women teachers as missionaries and Women Education Officers in mid-twentieth century British Africa

Kay Whitehead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article focuses on British women missionaries and Women Education Officers (WEOs) in British Africa when girls’ education was prioritised in preparations for independence. The marriage bar was removed in Britain in 1944 but remained for WEOs and missionaries. The article explores how they negotiated singleness in their lives and work in the mid-twentieth century. It examines their leadership and teaching in mission and government schools and training colleges, their relationships with other members of the Colonial Education Service and their social lives. Both groups were advantaged by their linguistic and cultural authority and their professional qualifications and experience, but the enforcement of the marriage bar rendered their status anachronistic and they were subjected to deficit discourses of singleness in some circumstances. In essence, missionaries and WEOs negotiated contrasting discourses of empowerment and marginalisation in constructing positive accounts of their lives and work as single women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-464
Number of pages20
JournalWomen's History Review
Volume30
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • British Africa
  • girls’ education
  • single women
  • teacher education
  • Women Education Officers
  • women missionaries
  • Women teachers

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Single women teachers as missionaries and Women Education Officers in mid-twentieth century British Africa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this