Women In The 1700s

928 Words4 Pages
Through European history, women have occupied a back seat in all forms of innovation. During the Protestant Revolution and Enlightenment periods, women were considered subservient to men and lesser beings. Women of the 1700s were not permitted to own property or pursue professions in law, medicine, or education. Through the Reformation and the Enlightenment, the experiences of women in Europe stayed the same in the sense of independence and roles in society, but changed in the senses of increased literacy, inclusion in academia, and the development of feminist ideals. The Reformation and the Enlightenment led to few changes in the independence of women. Through those periods of intense religious and social change, women were still not…show more content…
Women were still seen as subservient to men. Their roles in society were, as they always had been, mothers, wives, and homekeepers. They were to assist their husbands and were allowed a few freedoms in that, but were still viewed as mere helpers and workers who were not allowed their own personal independence. This is due to the arcane view of women as lesser in mind and body than mind as perpetuated by oppressive governments and religious institutions. Women were simply instructed to “... be calm, modest and avoid any outrageous behaviour.” In Protestant culture, Katharina von Bora, who married Martin Luther, set a precedent of what it was to be a good Protestant wife: silent, obedient, and subservient. The Enlightenment, while leading to some improvements, still left women in unequal and oppressive positions. Many philosophes, such as Rousseau, felt women should be subordinate to men. While Charles de Montesquieu believed in equality of the sexes, he held an oppressive traditional view of women’s roles in family and…show more content…
During this period, the increased popularity of academic and ethical discussion and innovation lead to the development of salons. Salons were places where philosophes, and wealthier individuals could have stimulating academic discussions. Because of the social nature of salons, opportunities opened for women to host and be included in academic discussions. Being present and engaging in these discussions led to women having input in the development of Enlightenment ideals, and increased education for wealthier women. Salons allowed for women of the time to play a positive role in society and contribute to academia, which was a complete change from the previous experiences of European

More about Women In The 1700s

Open Document