- This article is about the women's education advocate. For the pottery decorator, whose married name was Emily Grace Davies, see Grace Barnsley
Sarah Emily Davies (22 April 1830 – 13 July 1921) was an English feminist, suffragist and a pioneering campaigner for women's rights to university access. She was born in Carlton Crescent, Southampton, England to an evangelical clergyman and a teacher, although she spent most of her youth in Gateshead. She is principally remembered as being the co-founder and first Mistress of Girton College, Cambridge University, the first college in England to educate women.
In 1862, after the death of her father, Davies moved to London, where she edited a feminist publication, the English Woman's Journal, and became friends with women's rights advocates Barbara Bodichon, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and her younger sister Millicent Fawcett. Davies became a founder member of a women's discussion group, the Kensington Society.
Davies began campaigning for a woman's right to educate. She was active on the London School Board and in the Schools Inquiry Commission and was instrumental in obtaining the admission of girls to official secondary school examinations.
She also became involved in the Suffrage movement, which centred on a woman's right to vote. She was involved in organizing for John Stuart Mill's 1866 petition to the British Parliament) (which was signed by Paulina Irby, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and 15,000 others) the first to ask for women's suffrage. That same year, she also wrote the book The Higher Education of Women.
In 1869, Davies led the founding of Britain's first women's college, Girton College at Hitchin, Hertfordshire. In 1873, the institution moved to Cambridge, Cambridgeshire. From 1873 to 1875, Davies served as mistress of the college, where she then served as Secretary until 1904. The college was not permitted to grant full Cambridge University degrees to women until 1940.
Davies also continued her suffrage work. In 1906, she headed a delegation to Parliament. She was known for opposing the militant and violent methods used by the Suffragette part of the women's suffrage movement, led by the Pankhursts.
In 1910, Davies published Thoughts on Some Questions Relating to Women. She died in 1921.
See also 
|About Emily Davies|
|By Emily Davies|
- Leonard, A. G. K. (Autumn 2010). "Carlton Crescent: Southampton’s most spectacular Regency development". Southampton Local History Forum Journal. Southampton City Council. pp. 41–42. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
- "Miss Paulina Irby - an Early Suffragist". The Common Cause. 1915. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
- Sara Delamont, ‘Davies, (Sarah) Emily (1830–1921)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2007 accessed 2 March 2013
- "Glasgow University jubilee" The Times (London). Friday, 14 June 1901. Issue 36481, p. 10.
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- About.com profile of Emily Davies, Jone Johnson Lewis, accessed Feb. 3 2007
- Columbia Encyclopedia entry via Questia
Further reading 
- Sarah Emily Davies,The Higher Education of Women , Adamant Media Corporation (2006), ISBN 978-0-543-98292-6
- Daphne Bennett - Emily Davies and the Liberation of Women (André Deutsch, 1990) ISBN 978-0-233-98494-0
- Ann B. Murphy and Deirdre Raftery (eds) - Emily Davies: Collected Letters, 1861-1875 (University of Virginia Press, 2003) ISBN 978-0-8139-2232-4
- Barbara Nightingale Stephen - Emily Davies and Girton College (Hyperion, 1976) ISBN 978-0-88355-282-7
- Forster, Margaret. Significant Sisters, Secker and Warburg, 1984 ISBN 978-0-14-008172-5
|Mistress of Girton College, Cambridge