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Elizabeth received an education equal to that of a prominent male aristocrat; she was educated in Latin, Greek, Spanish, French, philosophy, history, mathematics and music.
England reaped the reward of her rich education when circumstances resulted in her becoming a capable monarch.
By the 18th century, Europeans recognized the value of literacy, and schools were opened to educate the public in growing numbers.
Education in the Age of Enlightenment in France led to up to a third of women becoming literate by the time of the French Revolution, contrasting with roughly half of men by that time.
In Ancient Egypt, the princess Neferure grew up under the reign of her mother, the woman Pharaoh Hatshepsut, who had inherited the throne after the death of her husband Thutmose II.
Women in Ancient Egypt had a relatively high status in society, and as the daughter of the pharaoh, Neferura was provided with the best education possible.
Despite the fact that women and men had a great deal of equality in Ancient Egypt, there were still important divisions in gender roles.
Men worked as scribes for the government, for example, whereas women would often work at occupations tied to the home, such as farming, baking bread and brewing beer; however, a large number of women, particularly from the upper classes, worked in business and traded at markets, as perfumers, and some women also worked in temples.
This usage may be considered derogatory or disrespectful in professional or other formal contexts, just as the term boy can be considered disparaging when applied to an adult man. It can also be used deprecatively when used to discriminate against children ("you're just a girl").
In Europe, exceptions were rare before the printing press and the Reformation made literacy more widespread.
One notable exception to the general neglect of girls' literacy is Queen Elizabeth I.
Girl may also be a term of endearment a woman may use to designate adult female friends, as in "The girls and I went out together." The treatment and status of girls in any society is usually closely related to the status of women in that culture.
Girl has meant any young unmarried woman since about 1530. The earliest known appearance of girl-friend is in 1892 and girl next door, meant as a teenaged female or young woman with a kind of wholesome appeal, dates only to 1961.