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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.The sacrament is usually performed in a church once a year, with children who are of age receive a blessing from a Bishop in a special ceremony.It is traditional in many countries for Catholic girls to wear white dresses and possibly a small veil or wreath of flowers in their hair to their First Communion. Many coming-of-age ceremonies are to acknowledge the passing of a girl through puberty, when she experiences menarche, or her first menstruation.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 casual context, the word has positive uses, as evidenced by its use in titles of popular music.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.
One notable exception to the general neglect of girls' literacy is Queen Elizabeth I.Some coming-of-age ceremonies are religious rituals to recognize a girl's maturity with respect to her understanding of religious beliefs, and to recognize her changing role in her religious community.Confirmation is a ceremony common to many Christian denominations for both boys and girls, usually taking place when the child is in their teen years.For this reason, girls' and boys' education differed.Boys could attend formal schools to learn how to read, write, and do math, while girls would be educated at home to learn the occupations of their mothers.
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.