Ap European History Dbq Women Essay

1016 words - 4 pages

The 17th and 18th centuries saw the embryonic stage of women's quest for intellectual and social parity with men. The evolution of women's fight for equal opportunities was bogged down by a long history of stereotyping and condescension. Women were weaker physically, bore children and nurtured them. The economics and culture of Europe at this time was strongly influenced by religion and resulted in prejudice against women. The dominating religions of Europe in the 1600's and 1700's (Catholicism and Protestantism), citing the bible, reinforced women's roles as mother's, wives, and homemakers. Women were considered the weaker sex both physically and mentally. Men and most women assumed that because women gave birth and produced milk for their infants, God intended that their place was in the home. Men's egos, as well, did not allow for women to compete with them. Males thought their place was to rule, fight wars, provide income, teach and be the head of his family. Women were not accepted in academics, politics, church leadership, business, or the military. Despite these prejudices, women saw an opportunity in the sciences. As a discipline based on observations and deductive reasoning it did not necessarily require a comprehensive academic background. Since most women were deprived of the more advanced education that men received, it was the perfect field for them to begin their pursuit of equality. As a result, a growing number of women actively participated in scientific research in chemistry, astronomy, biology, botany, medicine, and entomology.In documents two and five the women's interests in science, as well as their need for some sort of education were expressed. Document five simply explains that women, as well as men, can hold an interest, as well as succeed in science. In document two, written by Marie Meurdrac, a French scientist, the statement was made that "minds have no sex, and if the minds of women were cultivated like those of men, they would be equal to the minds of the latter." This was a very interesting document to examine. Being that it was a passage from the foreword to her text "Chemistry Simplified for Women"; the second earliest out of all the documents (1666), it was quite a revolutionary idea for that time. It explains a key fact about women participating in the field of science at that time. It talks about how a women, as well as a man, can aspire to become a scientist. In fact, if those women who desire to break the sexist barriers restricting women from entering the field could receive an adequate education, equal to that of a man, that woman could accomplish just as much.Documents four, nine, and thirteen all convey the same message, one of equality. Document four does this by illustrating both a male and a female working together to achieve a common scientific task. At first, documents nine and thirteen both tell of how society conceived a "learned woman" to be abnormal. In contrast though, the article describing...

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