I want to start off with this blog by talking about how I agree with almost everything Wollstonecraft writes in her book “A vindication of the rights of woman”. I am all for gender equality and believe that it is necessary in order to ensure the progression of humankind. For this equality to exist, as Wollstonecraft writes, it is necessary to start with the home and with the education system. This change needs to take place in two ways:
First, at home, parents should bring change in their attitudes towards their sons and daughters. For instance there should not be a difference in house chores, there should be equal freedom and the level of privacy given to boys and girls should be the same. With this we are likely to build a new image for both these genders in the sense of their capabilities and also regarding what is morally correct and incorrect for them to do.
Second, the education system needs to encourage more participation from women and there needs to be an elimination of stereotypes when it comes to choosing fields of studies.
With these changes in place, women will begin to get more involved in society and in doing so they will not be judged for stepping out of their place. Up till very recently in the developed and presently in the undeveloped world, half of humankind’s potential is wasted when women are not allowed to participate in the progress of our species and the exploration (and development) of this universe. Men have been ruling the world for the past several thousand years and I think I’m not wrong in saying that most of us today are not happy with the way things are in general. Common sense suggests that if one option has been failing even after several chances, you try a new one!
With all that said I found a really interesting link between what Wollstonecraft writes in her book and what Rousseau writes about the “savage man”. In his discussion of pre-civilization he talks about how man was left on his own to the basic law of nature i.e. the survival of the fittest. He talks about how man had to hunt for his own, meeting deadly predators along his course and having to defend himself from them. Now after having read A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, where Wollstonecraft talks about gender equality, including financial independence of women, it strikes me that according to “the law of nature”, particularly Rousseau’s description of it, the woman is in fact at a higher stage of development than man. Over the course of the past thousands of years, women have remained protected from predators, wars and basically many forms of fatal accidents because of the fact that they have remained confined to their homes. This is particularly because they have not been financially independent, which means they haven’t had to go out themselves to hunt, conquer and earn money. Although it is definitely unfair to keep someone in a shelter and disallow them the right to explore, it is precisely this injustice that has lead to the survival of women and because of that, the survival of the entire human race. According to this understanding of the two texts, the woman is more developed than man.