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 Featured Title
It's Up to You
Women at UBC in the Early Years
Lee Stewart  

204 Pages

This title is out of print.


About the Book

Lee Stewart argues in this book that the notion of university education as a cultural entitlement, inherent in the literal translation of the University of British Columbia's motto Tuum Est as 'It is yours,' has always been more applicable to male than to female students. Conversely, the popular interpretation of Tuum Est, 'It's up to you,' has held greater significance for women. Stewart examines the demands, accomplishments, and limitations of women advocates and educators against the background of the social and cultural conditions which enveloped them.

The book profiles the experience of women at UBC from the founding of the university early inthis century until after the Second World War. Stewart argues that campaigns to open the university, to start nursing and home economic programs, to establish the office of dean of women, and to build women's residences each involved the persistent efforts of women reformers, and each eventually succeeded. At the same time, pragmatism, politics, and expedience, far more than a passion for feminism within the university or in the province, accounted for the form that these programs and institutions took.

Stewart also describes the experience of female students and the strategies they devised to participate fully in the academic, cultural, and political life of the university. Young women had to juggle the contradictory expectations of the academic and social communities. In describing this process the author consciously links women's experience to the history of the university itself.

Stewart makes an important contribution to our understanding of higher education and to the history of a major Canadian university. She also expands our sensitivity to women's changing role in the twentieth century.

About the Author(s)

Lee Stewart is a historian and teacher who earned her master's degree in history from the University of British Columbia.

Table of Contents


1. Introduction
2. A University to Serve the Needs of All the People
3. In the Back Door: Nursing at UBC
4. The Proper and Logical Study for Womankind: Home Economics at UBC
5. A Position of Adequate Authority: A Dean's Office for Women
6. More than a Roof and a Bed: Rooms of Their Own
7. Boys' Rules: The Masculine Institution and the Feminine Image
8. Girls' Rules: Accommodating Women to the Female Reality
9. Conclusion



Stewart's work is a significant contribution to scholarship in many fields of Canadian history, but specifically strengthens the historiography of women and higher education during the early years in Canada. ..Stewart's analysis is excellent and the reader discovers much more than a history of women at the University of British Columbia. ..The author's attention to the provincial economy, the Depression and the two world wars, and how these factors affected the university administration, is to be applauded. It is not an easy task to profile individual women working towards changes in education within the larger socio-economic and political setting. All in all, Stewart's work is interesting, challenging, and illuminates many areas of Canadian social and educational history.

- Heather J MacMillan, Archivaria

Stewart's thought provoking book offers a well researched and clearly written study of the strategies and struggles of women to establish and define their role with the conservative patriarchal structure of UBC. . .
Stewart's book is a compelling reminder to any who might forget our history that women have long sought to identify and redress their secondary status in academe.

- Jane Turner, British Columbia Historical News

This is a very concise, well-written, and interesting book that appeals to a wide audience. Because this book reflects upon the issues and events that have affected women who have ever attended a University, the commonalities of the plight to gain a place in this institution will ring true for many. This book offers a welcome pause for reflection of where we came from and where we are going.

- Jennifer Wing, Canadian Home Economics Journal

Sample Chapter

A sample chapter of this title is not available at this time. For further information, please email

Related Topics

Women's Studies
BC Studies
BC Studies > History

Other Ways To Order

In Canada, order your copy of It's Up to You from UTP Distribution at:

UTP Distribution
5201 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 5T8

Phone orders: 1(800)565-9523 or (416)667-7791
Fax orders: 1(800)221-9985 or (416)667-7832

Ordering information for customers outside Canada

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