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Mary Wollstonecraft

October 15, 2012

Below please find a series of web questions by your classmate, Karina Casco, on a reading we did from Shaping of the Modern World (pp. 103-106): “A False System of Education,” by the eighteenth-century English writer and advocate for women’s rights, Mary Wollestonecraft (1759-1797). She was also the mother of Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein (Wollstonecraft died of complications from her pregnancy with her daughter). These questions were written by your classmate, Karina Casco.

In “A False System of Education,” Mary Wollstonecraft discusses various reasons for society’s idea that women are, by law of Nature, inferior to men. One reason she mentions is that women’s education is neglected. According to her, intellect allows women to govern their own lives. “I have turned over various books written on the subject of education, and patiently observed the conduct of parents and the management of schools; but what has been the result? — a profound conviction that the neglected education of my fellow creatures is the grand source of the misery I deplore, and that women, in particular, are rendered weak and wretched by a variety of concurring causes, originating from one hasty conclusion.” According to Mary Wollstonecraft, what were these “concurring causes”? Also, do these causes still exist in our society today?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Shira Binyaminy permalink
    October 15, 2012 4:10 pm

    Mary Wollstonecraft believed that women should be given as much of a chance at education as men and if they are given a chance they will be able to contribute as much to society. Unfortunately, at that time period few believed that women should be given an education and they weren’t looked upon as citizens which was infuriating to many women. The concurring causes I believe Mary is referring to, is the lack of acceptance from the men and government regarding women rights and freedom. Women were not given the right to vote or divorce rights and education was not a part of their system. Nowadays women have rights just like men in regards to voting and education. However, sometimes in the working world women might have a lower salary then men. But I do believe that women show that they can do as much as men in the working field, but sometimes they have to prove it more then they should need to.

  2. Jotty permalink
    October 18, 2012 8:23 pm

    According to Mary Wollstonecraft, women should have access to a good education as men. In that time, women’s way to act and think clearly indicated that their minds were unhealthy. Since a false education has been introduced in women psychology,most of them believed that they were really inferior,and couldn’t do anything by themselves. They were feeble to anything men said without thinking. All their effort were reduced to the sweet talk from men. Their only worries were about their relationship with men as they were living only to please men’s eyes. They believed that marriage was the only way they can rise in the world. Women’s mind were blocked by these different causes and prevent them to rise in the dark and argue for their capacity. Actually, few women still think that they can’t have access to everything and are seeking for an arranged marriage to get an higher place in the society. As Mary said, event thought,in a physical world,women are inferior but intellect will always govern.

  3. Syed permalink
    October 29, 2012 11:25 pm

    women were not considered mental sensible because of their nature. Books were written about women by men who considered women as a tool of sexsual pleasure. women were not considered “a part of the human species”.Men were consider superior. Women were not considered independent on their own. one of the biggest barricade of women self-determination is weeding. women always act as they are expected to act by men which also stop them from their equivalence.After marriage they get busy to take care their household chores,take care their babies. if not fully, the “concurring causes” are partially exist in modern societies. women are not paid same as men in twenty first century. even though, women works same as their male counterpart, they are paid much less than men. USA did not have any women president yet after 44 president were elected, i believe “concurring causes” have played a big role in this matter.

  4. Victoria Karcz permalink
    December 18, 2012 10:40 am

    In the title of her work “A False System of Education,” Mary Wollstonecraft expresses the belief that during her lifetime, the system of education was false, because not everyone could participate in the learning process. The education of her “fellow creatures” (women) was neglected because of societal roles that women were supposed to maintain. Without the education, Wollstonecraft expresses that her life has been subject to misery; based on the fulfillment of a man’s desires. The fact that women were not given the ability to obtain a proper education has made them inferior in the eyes of men, leading to their lack of respect as women, and were believed that they could only be housewives. At the times, women’s rights were limited and the women did not try and achieve them, that would require rising against the men. Today, there are certain areas of society that might consider women to be inferior, but I believe that women are equal to men on every basis and are able to accomplish the same tasks. Women and men are equal and it is sexist to believe that a woman cannot achieve what a man can, because in fact they can. Wollstonecraft’s time was a different one, a time in which education set boundaries between men and women, today we have equal opportunities for education.

  5. Xiarra-Diamond Nimrod permalink
    December 19, 2012 2:39 am

    Mary Wollstonecraft being the strong womens’ advocate that she was, expresses her beliefs that women were not properly given a fair shot at obtaining an education. Many boundaries were set that caused women and men to be separated, and women were strongly discriminated against. They were not “independent” enough to maintain an education and furthermore their primary roles thought upon by men were that they are supposed to specialize in domestic needs. Women were thought of to be in charge of raising proper children, completing house duties, and catering to their men while men were only responsible for “bringing home the bacon.” Today things are different, even though women and men are not totally equal, women and men are both offered a suffice amount of educational and career opportunities, which has progressed from Wollstonecraft’s time.

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