When Jane Austen wrote EMMA in 1815 life for girls and women was very different from how it is today. Girls hardly ever went to school. If your family had enough money, you might be educated at home by a governess, but you wouldn’t study the same subjects as boys. You’d be taught to read, of course, and how to write in a beautiful script; you might learn to speak French and to play the piano or paint a pretty picture.…
But that would be it.
Then, when you got older, you wouldn't be able to go to university, and, if you came from a middle or upper class family, there were very few ways that you could earn your own living. If you didn't get married (preferably to someone with loads of money!) your only options were to become a governess yourself or to stay at home and depend on your family to support you.
Or…. you could write some books that become best sellers and are loved by millions of people from all over the world for hundreds and hundreds of years.
Like Jane Austen.