Emma Hart Willard (February 23, 1787–April 15, 1870), America’s first professional female mapmaker.
The sixteenth of seventeen children, Willard grew up in an era when girls were barred from formal education beyond primary school. In her long life, far exceeding her generation’s life expectancy, she went on to become a pioneering educator, founding the first women’s higher education institution in the United States when she was still in her thirties. Willard understood that improving the future requires a robust understanding of the past, so that one may become an informed, engaged, and effective agent of change in the present. In her early forties, she set about composing and publishing a series of history textbooks that raised the standards and sensibilities of scholarship. In 1828, having just turned forty, she authored what would become the country’s most widely read history textbook: History of the United States, or, Republic of America.”Brain Pickings
She famously said that women “are an essential part of the body politic, whose corruption or improvement must affect the whole.”
Those who were in power, who made decisions on behalf of all the people, were men. And they decided that women did not have the disposition or sensibilities to attend institutions of higher education. While equal pay and an Equal Rights Amendment are still errant, all levels of education in general are now reconciled, available to everyone irrespective of sex.