back to essays
Compare/Contrast Essay: Rousseau and Wollstonecraft’s Views Of Women’s Role Mary Wollstonecraft’s views of women’s role in society is the complete opposite of Rousseau, as he states that through nature woman can and must only take care of the nest, Mary says that woman have the ability to take care of the nest and be useful to society at the same time and that it is man who has limited woman, not God. Rousseau believes that women, through nature, have been endowed with the duty to give birth to and raise the child. He states that because of the biological aspects of women their education must naturally be one oriented toward their duties, respectively care taking and domestic management. Mary, although she agrees that it is woman’s duty to raise the child she also says that women are able to participate in society. She explains that because women have been restricted by men, in activities, their view of the world is diminished and because of this they are not used to using Reason in their lives. Thus the only solution is education, only education can allow women to practice Reason and Understanding, and only through education will women be able to be active components of society. Rousseau argues that men and women have different spheres, and so each must be educated so as to best fulfil that specific sphere. Women, he believed, should be taught to comfort men and take care of the household. He thinks that the woman’s role in the family structure is essential because it holds the entire cell together. He said that if one teaches women to do more than that will infringe upon Nature, because nature gave them a certain duty. Wollstonecraft said that because women are rational the principles that guide their life should be the same as the principles that guide men’s lives.