Who Won the Debate in Women Education? Rousseau or Wollstonecraft?

Clifford Owusu-Gyamfi


Curriculum framework in the education of children became debatable during the enlightenment. Jean-Jacque Rousseau's treatise, Emile, outlined an educational curriculum based on natural rights. Rousseau thought education should be based on espousing and exploring the natural abilities of a person. Therefore, since women have a natural responsibility of care giving, their education should be given in line with helping them to enhance these natural caring abilities. Wollstonecraft, an enlightened philosopher, took on a literary protest against Rousseau's sexual politics in her treatise, A Vindication of the Rights of Women. This paper will show why Wollstonecraft’s idea is worth considering, in that it points the way past and out of a world of discrimination to create nondiscriminatory educational concept for future generation. Since discriminatory educational ideologies perpetrates in contemporary societies in diverse fashions, this paper challenges such cultures to rethinking the imperativeness of women education.

Keywords: Jean-Jacque Rousseau, Mary Wollstonecraft, Women education, Sexist politics

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