History of HE runs parallel to the history of educating women. Over the centuries, household tasks and the care of young children was supposed to be the responsibility of women while men dedicated their energies to leisure activities and establishing trade and businesses.
Subject of Home economics was first initiated in agricultural areas of United States. “Catherine Beecher” is considered pioneer in subject of Domestic Economy. In the years leading up to the Civil War in the United States, there was an effort to apply new knowledge to the everyday problems of farmers and working people. In 1862, President Lincoln signed Morill Land Grant Act. This act provided ground for subsidies for state universities, these universities serving the needs of local residents emancipated the home with newly developed discipline of Home Economics.
Ellen Swallow Richards was the one of the most influential figures in Home Economics. She guided earlier Home Economists, gave them major advices and held conferences for the improvements of the field of Home Economics. This remarkable lady graduated from Vassar in 1870 and convinced the authorities of renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to admit her in Chemistry Department. Hence! She was the first female graduate and Professor from MIT and indeed first chairperson to chair a conference that was aimed for uplifting of the discipline of Home Economics.
Expansion of the field
Contributions from Home Economists during the First World War were enough to convince public regard that Smith Hughes Act 1917 that specifically declared home economics with a subject having federally subsidized teacher training. The influx of money for secondary education brought a large expansion in both the quantity and quality of home economics education. Since then, the field is in revolution throughout the world and around the globe home economists are serving their nations, most importantly by training individuals through community extension programs and many other closely related fields. Now this field is globally recognized and both genders are now involved internationally to promote sustainability in homes and society.
International Federation of Home Economics (IFHE)
The IFHE is the worldwide organization concerned with Home economics and consumer sciences founded in 1908, with the aim to serve as a platform for exchange of knowledge within the field of Home Economics. It works in collaboration with United Nations (ECOSOC, FAO, UNESCO, UNICEF) and also with European Union (EU). For further details please visit www.ifhe.org.
IFHE LINKS IN UNITED NATIONS