Education for women: first initiatives (1989-1915)

The creation of the Residencia de Señoritas is directly linked to the notable change in women’s social standing that took place in Spain during the first third of the 20th century, which has its roots in the renovation project aimed at Spanish society in education, inspired by the Institución Libre de Enseñanza. The primary initiatives of this process were introduced by Fernando de Castro, who founded the Asociación para la Enseñanza de la Mujer in 1870. Francisco Giner de los Ríos and the rest of men and women of the ILE carried on Fernando’s primary steps and dedicated themselves to the task of defending women’s rights and campaigned for equal opportunities in education. The JAE, created in 1907, on top of having many women in their centres and giving several grants to them in order to let them expand their studies abroad, decided in 1915 to extend the experience of the Residencia de Estudiantes- founded five years earlier- and organised for the creation of a female counterpart, directed by María de Maetzu with the constant overview of Alberto Jiménez Fraud, who was the president of various divisions of the Residencia de Estudiantes.

Staff meeting in the Asociación para la Enseñanza de la Mujer. Photograph by professor Pedro Blanco, 4th July 1900. In the upper line, in the center, Gumersindo de Azcárate. Fundación Fernando de Castro, Madrid.