Mary Wollstonecraft on Education
Mary Wollstonecraft on Education
In her book, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft disregards the theorists of the 18th Century who thought that women did not deserve equal educational rights like men. This essay explores her ideas about education and the strategies that will improve the status of women in the society.
The great writer had many ideas but her main concern was on education and particularly on women. In her book, she argued that human beings had the capacity to acquire new skills thereby able to differentiate right from wrong unlike animals. This formed the basis of her argument that all individuals of all ages and gender should be given equal opportunity to access education so that they develop themselves in a morally upright way.
According to Wollstonecraft, children should be allowed to develop intellectually by mixing with their age mates in schools where they get more information from research, instead of depending entirely on answers they would get from their parents. Besides, she proposed that education for boys should be similar to that for girls and that both sexes should be educated together. In contrast, most educationists thought it was not important to mix the boys and the girls since they thought that girls were still inferior to boys. In her own opinion, she thought that by mixing the two at school and allowing them to acquire the same knowledge, then the boys and girls would be able to learn the importance of gender equality at a significantly early age and this would assist them to transform the society for the better.
Besides, she had ample concern pertaining conservation of the childrens moral values. On one hand, she thought that sending them to boarding schools would damage their morality and on the other, staying at home with their parents would deny them a chance to acquire adequate knowledge they would get at school. Despite these two situations, she was not indifferent but rather proposed that private education be combined with public education. In her view, she was optimistic that this would reduce the risk of damaging morality in children.
On the other hand, women of the early days, she said, were viewed as having no significant role in the society apart from being wives in marriages so that they would sire children for their husbands. Despite the mistreatment of women, Wollstonecraft argued that they had a crucial economic besides a social value in the society. Consequently, she lamented that the women who had the ability to improve the wellbeing of their society were denied a crucial element that would assist the society to progress. Wollstonecraft strongly believed that education to women was a sufficient condition for any societys growth and progress.
In addition, she outlined that a woman must not entirely depend on her husbands intelligence as most theorists thought and must therefore acquire knowledge in form of education aimed at improving her duties as a good mother. In an effort to support the need for education to women, the author laid out two reasons for that. One of such reasons was that women are human beings, just like men, who should access education as anybody else in order to develop in an upright manner and also that the society would benefit a lot if women are educated. No one therefore, had a reason to deny women their rights to access education.
In conclusion, Wollstonecrafts book aimed at fighting for the rights of women since she thought that by denying them equal rights of acquiring education, then the society would not progress. She also thought that it was important to educate both the girl and the boy child together so that, through education, they would learn to appreciate each others gender and therefore eradicating gender inequality.