Get help from the best in academic writing.

Compare historical and current features of public health essay help writer Microbiology

Public health efforts are planning to protect the general health and safety of the population by taking measures to prevent or avoid the transmission of disease. Historically, measures such as quarantines were enforced, where there were no means to vaccinate or inoculate to prevent the spread of a dangerous transmissible disease. In more modern times, vaccines were developed to protect against diseases, and of course, in the case of smallpox, the disease was able to be eliminated in 1979, so there’s no longer a need to vaccinate against it.

In modern times, there is little reliance on quarantine, though people with multiply-antibiotic-resistant TB and other diseases may be detained and isolated. In the early 19th century, the growing towns of Britain were characterised by overcrowding, poor housing, bad water and disease. In 1842, Edwin Chadwick argued that disease was the main reason for poverty, and that preventing disease would reduce the poor rates. In 1848, a cholera epidemic terrified the government into doing something about prevention of disease, through both public and individual health measures.

Further measures included: •In 1848 the first Public Health Act caused the setting up of a Board of Health, and gave towns the right to appoint a Medical Officer of Health. •In 1853 vaccination against smallpox was made compulsory. •In 1854 improvements in hospital hygiene were introduced (thanks in large part to Florence Nightingale). •In 1875 a Public Health Act enforced laws about slum clearance, provision of sewers and clean water, and the removal of nuisances. •In 1906 local councils were told to provide free school meals for poor children.

In 1907 school medical examinations were ordered for all children (among these examinations were those of the ‘nitty nurse’). •In 1908 Old-age pensions were introduced. •In 1911 National Insurance (free medical treatment for workers who fell ill) was introduced. Nineteenth century ?Chicken Pox: this is one of the most common diseases which children are most likely to get. It will emerge in the form of little spots and round. The illness will give you a fever, chills, headaches and sometimes aching in the back and limbs. You will first not notice that you have chicken pox until they appear as spots.

This is not the same as small pox this on its own is a distinct disease. Neither vaccination or small pox can protect anyone from getting chicken pox, it is very contagious nor is anyone at risk of catching them. Chickenpox causes a red, itchy skin rash that usually appears first on the abdomen or back and face, and then spreads to almost everywhere else on the body, including the scalp, mouth, arms, legs, and genitals. The rash begins as multiple small red bumps that look like pimples or insect bites, usually less than a quarter of an inch wide.

They appear in crops over 2 to 4 days and develop into thin-walled blisters filled with fluid. The blister walls break, leaving open sores, which finally crust over to become dry, brown scabs. The rash is very itchy, and cool baths or calamine lotion may help to manage the itching. Chicken pox may not exist as much now because more people are getting their children vaccinated at a young age to help not to prevent chicken pox, and now we now the actual causes of this and we are now more advanced. ?Cholera: this is one of the most feared diseases, it is infectious, and it is caused by drinking water from a contaminated item.

When you get cholera is causes a slowing in the blood circulation and it will cause the skin to become blue and shrunken it can also cause deaths. Some people believe that cholera is caused by eating fruits and vegetables. The most common symptoms of cholera are: •extensive, watery diarrhea •nausea •vomiting •muscle cramps Around three-quarters of people who are exposed to cholera bacteria do not develop any symptoms. However, these people can contaminate water by passing faeces that contain bacteria into water, or pass on the disease through poor food hygiene.

However, things have changed over time and we now have vaccinations and treatments to help to reduce the number of people with Cholera. There is a vaccine which is given as a drink that protects against cholera. Vaccination is usually only required for: •people travelling in remote areas where cholera epidemics are occurring and there is limited access to medical care •those intending to visit high-risk areas such as refugee camps or war zones •those taking part in disaster relief operations These people include emergency relief workers, members of the armed forces and healthcare workers.

It is important to get advice from your nurse or doctor about whether you need a cholera vaccination well in advance of travelling; the vaccine is available free on the NHS. Cholera needs prompt treatment with oral rehydration solution (ORS) to prevent dehydration and shock. ORS comes in a sachet; it is made up of a mixture of salts and glucose, which are dissolved in water. ORS is ideal for replacing the fluids and minerals that are lost when a person becomes dehydrated. As well as treating dehydration and shock with ORS, antibiotics can be used to treat the underlying infection.

ORS sachets are available from many pharmacists, camping shops and travel clinics. If you are travelling to regions of the world affected by cholera, take ORS sachets as a precaution. ?Consumption: this is also known as ‘tuberculosis (TB)’ is another common cause of deaths; the word consumption was named as it described the action of the body tissue wasting away. This is highly contagious and the bacteria which it causes is found in milks and other foods and sometimes in the saliva of a person which has the diseases, researchers found out that only direct sunlight will kill the bacteria.

In 1882, Robert Koch discovered that the bacteria which caused this disease were barely visible in the human eye, this will cause it to attach and grow in every organ of the body, including the lungs and the brain. This mainly affects the lungs. However, it can affect any part of the body, including the bones and nervous system. Typical symptoms of this include: •having a persistent cough for more than three weeks that brings up phlegm, which may be bloody •weight loss •high temperature (fever) •tiredness and fatigue •loss of appetite TB is caused by a bacterium called mycobacterium tuberculosis, it affects the lungs is the only form of the condition that is contagious and usually only spreads after prolonged exposure to someone with the illness. For example, TB often spreads within a family who live in the same house. In most healthy people, the immune system kills the bacteria and you have no further symptoms. However, sometimes the immune system cannot kill the bacteria, but manages to prevent it from spreading in the body. This means you will not have any symptoms, but the bacteria will remain in your body.

This is known as latent TB. If the immune system fails to kill or contain the infection, it can spread to the lungs or other parts of the body and symptoms will develop within a few weeks or months. This is known as active TB. There is now treatment and vaccination for this, with treatment. A TB infection can usually be cured. Most people will need a course of antibiotics, usually for six months. Several different antibiotics are used; this is because some forms of TB are resistant to certain antibiotics. If you are infected with a drug-resistant form of TB, treatment can last as long as 18 months.

If you are in close contact with someone who has TB, tests may be carried out to see if you are also infected. These can include a chest X-ray and blood tests. Vaccination currently, BCG vaccinations are only recommended for groups of people who are at a higher risk of developing TB. This includes children living in areas with high rates of TB or those who have close family members from countries with high TB rates; it is also recommended that some people, such as healthcare workers, are vaccinated due to the increased risk of contracting TB while working.

Small pox: this affects people of all ages however; it is especially fatal to young children. This is caused by a virus which makes small blister like bumps on the skin sometimes even the mouth and throat. If this virus makes your throat swell up it can cause difficulty to breath, if you catch this and you survive you will not catch this again. This information was used to find a vaccine to prevent the disease. Smallpox is contagious that means the virus can spread to others. It spreads through tiny drops of an infected person’s saliva when the person coughs, talks, or sneezes.

Smallpox usually passes from person to person during close, face-to-face contact. If someone does get smallpox, a doctor can recognise the disease because it causes a special kind of rash. The rash shows up as blisters on the skin that fill with fluid and crust over. This might sound like chickenpox, but the blisters look different from the blisters that chickenpox causes. The other symptoms of smallpox are like those of many other less serious illnesses: fever, headache, backache, and feeling tired.

A vaccine, a type of shot, can prevent infection with the virus that causes smallpox. Years ago, people were vaccinated against smallpox. Today, smallpox vaccines aren’t given because nobody has had the disease for many years. This has changed over time because science has improved more, now in the twenty-first century there are more advanced people and scientist and things have improved much more since the nineteenth century. The doctors and scientist have found out more cures and reasons for diseases and they are able to help out more people.

Also the NHS is free therefore; more people are able to get free treatment for the diseases or infections that they have. Sanitation and Hygiene: There was a lack of sanitation because at the time the government never took this matter seriously as no one was complaining about the issue. The higher class people never had to live like the lower class and they never had to deal with the poor sanitation because they had the money and the power to live healthy lives and in better conditions.

Therefore, the lower class did not complain about the issue as not one would listen to them and even if they did not one will act upon the issue to make it better. When Mr. Black looked into this situation he found out that the sewage system was not correctly working making the environment smell, when he raised this issue to the parliament they acted as if they never had enough money to place a proper sewage system to help improve the environment.

Lack of sanitation now affects about 2. 4 billion of the world’s population and is expected to rise to 50% by 2025. Diarrhoea caused by bad sanitation kills nearly 6,000 children a day, an annual toll of two million deaths. People suffering from waterborne diseases occupy half the world’s hospital beds. Already half of Asia’s population lacks adequate sanitation and in China, India and Indonesia twice as many people die from diarrhoeal diseases as from HIV/Aids.

In developing countries 80% of all disease results from a combination of poor hygiene, contaminated water and poor sanitation. Parasitic infections are also exacerbated by poor sanitation; the report estimates that 1. 5 billion people have parasitic worm infections. Such worms, whilst they may not cause death, lead to stunted growth and general debilitation. Among the diseases resulting from poor sanitation, unclean water and poor waste disposal are dysentery, cholera, typhus fever, typhoid and trachoma.

Sanitation will be affected by the amount of people that are in the population, for example, if there are an increasing amount of people growing in the society there will need to be more sanitation because if they do not fit in more sanitation systems then the old ones will get worn out by being used continually, and over time it will stop working correctly therefore, it is important that the government start to build more sanitation systems so there will be no danger of the society to be exposed to harmful waste because the sanitation system fails to work.

On the other hand, if the population decreased there will be no need for loads of sanitation systems and the government will be able to save a lot of money. When you have poor sanitation it can cause diseases such as: •Diarrhoea; this caused by different micro-organisms including viruses and bacteria. This causes a person to lose both water and electrolytes, which leads to dehydration and, in some cases, to death. Repeated episodes of diarrhoeal disease makes children more vulnerable to other diseases and malnutrition. Diarrhoea is the most important public health problem directly related to water and sanitation.

The simple act of washing hands with soap and water can cut diarrhoeal disease by one-third. Next to providing adequate sanitation facilities, it is the key to preventing waterborne diseases. •HIV/AIDS; A hygienic environment, clean water and adequate sanitation are key factors in preventing opportunistic infections associated with HIV/AIDS, and in the quality of life of people living with the disease. AIDS-affected people are more susceptible to water-related diseases than healthy individuals, and they become sicker from these infections than people with healthy immune systems.

Maintaining a healthy environment is essential to safeguarding the health, quality of life and productivity of people living with HIV/AIDS. •Cholera; Cholera is an acute bacterial infection of the intestinal tract. It causes severe attacks of diarrhoea that, without treatment, can quickly lead to acute dehydration and death. Cholera is a world-wide problem, especially in emergency situations. It can be prevented by access to safe drinking water, sanitation and good hygiene behaviour (including food hygiene). •Malaria; Malaria is a serious disease caused by a parasite carried by certain types of mosquitoes.

Humans are infected when bitten by the mosquitoes. Reducing the mosquito population in households and communities by eliminating standing water (caused by poor drainage and uncovered water tanks) can be an important factor in reducing malaria cases. This has changed over time because in the twenty-first century people and the government have realised to live healthy lives it is important to have good sanitation and hygiene because if they do not have good sanitation or hygiene its very likely that diseases and infections will spread around causing many people to get ill.

Technology have now improved therefore, the government is able to put more advance technology in place to help in the environment. Environment: Global warming is the rise in the average temperature of Earth’s atmosphere and oceans since the late 19th century and its projected continuation. Since the early 20th century, Earth’s mean surface temperature has increased by about 0. 8°C, with about two-thirds of the increase occurring since 1980.

Warming of the climate system is clear, and scientists are more than 90% certain that it is primarily caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases made by human activities such as the burning of fissile fuels and deforestation. These findings are recognised by the national science academies of all major industrialised nations. During the 21st century the global surface temperature is likely to rise a further 2. 9°C for their lowest emissions scenario and 2. 4 to 6. 4 °C for their highest. The ranges of these estimates arise from the use of models with differing sensitivity to greenhouse gas concentrations.

The effects of an increase in global temperature include a rise in sea levels and a change in the amount and pattern of rain, as well a probable expansion of subtropical desert. Warming is expected to be strongest in Antarctica and would be associated with the continuing sea ice. Other likely effects of the warming include a more frequent occurrence of extreme whether events including heat waves, droughts and heavy rainfall due to shifting temperature regimes. Effects significant to humans include the threat to food security from decreasing crop yields and the loss of habitat from inundation.

Proposed policy responses to global warming include mitigation by releases reduction, adaptation to its effects. Most countries have policies designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to assist in adaptation to global warming. The Earth’s average surface temperature rose by 0. 18°C, over the period 1906–2005. The rate of warming over the last half of that period was almost double that for the period as a whole 0. 03°C per decade, versus 0. 02°C per decade. Temperatures in the lower troposphere have increased between 0. 13 and 0. 22°C per decade since 1979, according to satellite temperature measurements.

Climate substitutions show the temperature to have been relatively stable over the one or two years before 1850. The history of the scientific discovery of climate change began in the early 19th century when ice ages and other natural changes in pale climate were first suspected and the natural greenhouse effect first identified. In the late 19th century, scientists first argued that human emissions of greenhouse gases could change the climate, but the calculations were disputed. Many other theories of climate change were advanced, involving forces from volcanism to solar variation.

In the 1960s, the warming effect of carbon dioxide gas became increasingly convincing, although some scientists also pointed out that human activities, in the form of atmospheric aerosols e. g. pollution, could have cooling effects as well. During the 1970s, scientific opinion increasingly favored the warming viewpoint. By the 1990s, as a result of improving fidelity of computer models and observational work confirming the Milankovitch theory of the ice ages, a consensus position formed: greenhouse gases were deeply involved in most climate changes, and human emissions were bringing serious global warming.

Some challenges we face now are: 1. Climate Change: this has been concerning scientists for decades, from the melting polar ice caps to catastrophic weather and threatened ecosystems, not only is climate change real, scientists agree that humans are influencing climate change with our production of greenhouse gases (mainly stemming from carbon dioxide and methane). 2. Energy: clean energy vs. dirty energy. Renewable energy, energy independence, petroleum, biofuels and coal. 3.

Waste: with the immediate looming problems of climate change and energy, focus has shifted away from landfill waste, but this is a serious problem. The world has largely gotten accustomed to a throwaway lifestyle, but that’s neither healthy nor sustainable. Waterways are choked with trash and modernised nations ship their undesirable leftovers to the developing world. Fashion, fast food, packaging and cheap electronics are just some of the problems 4. Water: Pure water is in short supply. Our global reserves of drinkable water are a fraction of 1% and 1 in 5 humans does not have access to potable (safe) water.

Many people do not realise that strife has already broken out in some stressed regions. Overall, I have learnt the difference between the diseases in the nineteenth century and the twenty-first century, in the twenty-first century there is more cures for diseases then there was in nineteenth century. More people know the reasons behind certain diseases and why they be caused and we are now able to produce cures for most diseases and we are now able to help most people around different places.

PHI2604 project

Group Description
Does our notion of gender perpetuate oppression?
Review “Gender Equality” (Mary Wollstonecraft, Simone De Beauvoir, Audre Lorde, Judith Butler, Lori Girshick) RMP pp. 208-252
Each student should pick one of the above articles in our book and outline the main arguments and thought experiments (3-5 minutes per student). Then at the end, the group should enter a short (3-5 mins) dialogue comparing and contrasting the arguments and standpoints of the authors. Use the “compare and contrast” questions to guide you through this. (((((HERE I LET YOU ALL THE INFO ABOUT MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT , I CHOSE HER, SO I JUST NEED OUTLINE THE MAIN ARGUMENTS AND THOUGHT EXPERIMENTS THAT WILL HELP ME DISCUSS FOR 5 MIN PRESENTATION.
Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) was an English political philosopher, author of A
Vindication of the Rights of Man, shortly followed by A Vindication of the Rights of Woman,
a highly influential early feminist work. She was the mother of Mary Shelley, author of
After considering the historic page, and viewing the living world with anxious solicitude,
the most melancholy emotions of sorrowful indignation have depressed my spirits, and I
have sighed when obliged to confess, that either nature has made a great difference between
man and man, or that the civilization which has hitherto taken place in the world has been
very partial. I have turned over various books written on the subject of education, and
patiently observed the conduct of parents and the management of schools; but what has
been the result?-a profound conviction that the neglected education of my fellow-creatures
is the grand source of the misery I deplore; and that women, in particular, are rendered
weak and wretched by a variety of concurring causes, originating from one hasty
conclusion. The conduct and manners of women, in fact, evidently prove that their minds
are not in a healthy state; for, like the flowers which are planted in too rich a soil, strength
and usefulness are sacrificed to beauty; and the flaunting leaves, after having pleased a
fastidious eye, fade, disregarded on the stalk, long before the season when they ought to
have arrived at maturity.-_One cause of this barren blooming I attribute to a false system of
education, gathered from the books written on this subject by men who, considering
females rather as women than human creatures, havy been more anxious to make them
alluring mistresses than affectionate wives and rational mothers; and the understanding of
the sex has been so bubbled by this specious homage, that the civilized women of the
present century, with a few exceptions, are only anxious to inspire love, when they ought to
cherish a nobler ambition, and by their abilities and virtues exact respect.***
* In the government of the physical world it is observable that the female in point of
strength is. in general, inferior to the male. This is the law of nature; and it does not appear
to be suspended or abrogated in favour of woman. A degree of physical superiority cannot,
therefore, be denied–and it is a noble prerogative! But not content with this natural pre-
eminence, men endeavour to sink us still lower, merely to render us alluring objects for a
moment; and women. intoxicated by the adoration which men. under the influence of their
senses, pay them, do not seek to obtain a durable interest in their hearts, or to become the
friends of the fellow creatures who find amusement in their society.
I am aware of an obvious inference:- from every quarter have I heard exclamations
against masculine women; but where are they to be found? If by this appellation men mean
to inveigh against their ardour in hunting, shooting, and gaming, I shall most cordially join
in the cry; but if it be against the imitation of manly virtues, or, more properly speaking, the
attainment of those talents and virtues, the exercise of which ennobles the human character,
and which raise females in the scale of animal being, when they are comprehensively
termed mankind;-all those who view them with a philosophic eye must, I should think,
wish with me, that they may every day grow more and more masculine. ***
My own sex, I hope, will excuse me, if I treat them like rational creatures, instead of
flattering their fascinating graces, and viewing them as if they were in a state of perpetual
childhood, unable to stand alone. I earnestly wish to point out in what true dignity and
human happiness consists–I wish to persuade women to endeavour to acquire strength,
both of mind and body, and to convince them that the soft phrases, susceptibility of heart,
delicacy of sentiment, and refinement of taste, are almost synonymous with epithets of
weakness, and that those beings who are only the objects of pity and that kind of love,
which has been termed its sister, will soon become objects of contempt.
Dismissing then those pretty feminine phrases, which the men condescendingly use to
soften our slavish dependence, and despising that weak elegancy of mind, exquisite
sensibility, and sweet docility of manners, supposed to be the sexual characteristics of the
weaker vessel, I wish to shew that elegance is inferior to virtue, that the first object of
laudable ambition is to obtain a character as a human being, regardless of the distinction of
sex; and that secondary views should be brought to this simple touchstone. *=*
The education of women has, of late, been more attended to than formerly: yet they are
still reckoned a frivolous sex, and ridiculed or pitied by the writers who endeavour by satire
or instruction to improve them. It is acknowledged that they spend many of the first years
of their lives in acquiring a smattering of accomplishments; meanwhile strength of body and
mind are sacrificed to libertine notions of beauty, to the desire of establishing themselves,
-the only way women can rise in the world,-by marriage. -the only way women can rise in the world, -by marriage. And this desire making mere
animals of them, when they marry they act as such children may be expected to act:-they
dress; they paint, and nickname God’s creatures.-Surely these weak beings are only fit for a
seraglio!-Can they be expected to govern a family with judgment, or take care of the poor
babes whom they bring into the world?
If then it can be fairly deduced from the present conduct of the sex, from the prevalent
fondness for pleasure which takes place of ambition and those nobler passions that open and
enlarge the soul; that the instruction which women have hitherto received has only tended,
with the constitution of civil society, to render them insignificant objects of desire-mere
propagators of fools!-if it can be proved that in aiming to accomplish them, without
cultivating their understandings, they. are taken out of their sphere of duties, and made
ridiculous and useless when the short-lived bloom of beauty is over, I presume that rational
men will excuse me for endeavouring to persuade them to become more masculine and
respectable. ***
Women are, in fact, so much degraded by mistaken notions of female excellence, that I
do not mean to add a paradox when I assert, that this artificial weakness produces a
propensity to tyrannize, and gives birth to cunning, the fatural opponent of strength, which
leads them to play off those contemptible infantine airs that undermine esteem even whilst
they excite desire. Let men become more chaste and modest, and if women do not grow
wiser in the same ratio, it will be clear that they have weaker understandings. It seems
scarcely necessary to say, that I now speak of the sex in general. Many individuals have
more sense than their male relatives; and, as nothing preponderates where there is a
constant struggle for an equilibrium, without it has naturally more gravity, some women
govern their husbands without degrading themselves, because intellect will always govern.
The Prevailing Opinion of a Sexual Character Discussed
To account for, and excuse the tyranny of man, many ingenious arguments have been
brought forward to prove, that the two sexes, in the acquirement of virtue, ought to aim at
attaining a very different character: or, to speak explicitly, women are not allowed to have
sufficient strength of mind to acquire what really deserves the name of virtue. Yet it should
seem, allowing them to have souls, that there is but one way appointed by Providence to
lead mankind to either virtue or happiness.
If then women are not a swarm of ephemeron triflers, why should they be kept in
ignorance under the specious name of innocence? Men complain, and with reason, of the
follies and caprices of our sex, when they do not keenly satirize our headstrong passions and
groveling vices.-Behold, I should answer, the natural effect of ignorance! The mind will
ever be unstable that has only prejudices to rest on, and the current will run with
destructive fury when there are no barriers to break its force. Women are told from their-
infancy, and taught by the example of their mothers, that a little knowledge of human
weakness, justly termed cunning, softness of temper, outward obedience, and a scrupulous
attention to a puerile kind of propriety, will obtain for them the protection of man; and
should they be beautiful, every thing else is needless, for, at least, twenty years of their lives.
How grossly do they insult us who thus advise us only to render ourselves gentle,
domestic brutes! ** * Men, indeed, appear to me to act in a very unphilosophical manner
when they try to secure the good conduct of women by attempting to keep them always in a
state of childhood. *
Consequently, the most perfect education, in my opinion, is such an exercise of the
understanding as is best calculated to strengthen the body and form the heart. Or, in other
words, to enable the individual to attain such habits of virtue as will render it independent.
In fact, it is a farce to call any being virtuous whose virtues do not result from the exercise
of its own reason. #**
In the education of women, the cultivation of the understanding is always
subordinate to the acquirement of some corporeal accomplishment; even while enervated
by confinement and false notions of modesty, the body is prevented from attaining that
grace and beauty which relaxed half-formed limbs never exhibit. Besides, in youth their
faculties are not brought forward by emulation; and having no serious scientific study, if
they have natural sagacity it is turned too soon on life and manners. They dwell on effects,
and modifications, without tracing them back to causes; and complicated rules to adjust
behavior are a weak substitute for simple principles. ***
*** Riches and hereditary honours have made cyphers of women to give consequence to
the numerical figure; and idleness has produced a mixture of gallantry and despotism into
society, which leads the very men who are the slaves of their mistresses to tyrannize over
their sisters, wives, and daughters. This is only keeping them in rank and file, it is true.
Strengthen the female mind by enlarging it, and there will be an end to blind obedience; but,
as blind obedience is ever sought for by power, tyrants and sensualists are in the right when
they endeavour to keep women in the dark, because the former only want slaves, and the
latter a play-thing.***
* * * Rousseau declares that a woman should never, for a moment, feel herself
independent, that she should be governed by fear to exercise her natural cunning, and made
a coquetish slave in order to render her a more alluring object of desire, a sweeter
companion to man, whenever he chooses to relax himself. He carries the arguments, which
he pretends to draw from the indications of nature, still further, and insinuates that truth
and fortitude, the corner stones of all human virtue, should be cultivated with certain
restrictions. because, with respect to the female character, obedience is the grand lesson
which ought to be impressed with unrelenting rigour.
What nonsense! when will a great man arise with sufficient strength of mind to puff
away the fumes which pride and sensuality have thus spread over the subject! If women are
by nature inferior in men, their virtues must be the same in quality, if not in degree, or
virtue is a relative idea; consequently, their conduct should be founded on the same
principles, and have the same aim.
Besides, the woman who strengthens her body and exercises her mind will, by managing
her family and practising various virtues, become the friend, and not the humble dependent
of her husband; and if she, by possessing such substantial qualities, merit his regard, she will
not find it necessary to conceal her affection, nor to pretend to an unnatural coldness of
constitution to excite her husband’s passions. In fact, if we revert to history, we shall find
that the women who have distinguished themselves have neither been the most beautiful
nor the most gentle of their sex. ***
*** Gentleness, docility, and a spaniel-like affection are, on this ground, consistently
recommended as the cardinal virtues of the sex; and, disregarding the arbitrary economy of
nature, one writer has declared that it is masculine for a woman to be melancholy. She was
created to be the toy of man, his rattle, and it must jingle in his ears whenever, dismissing
reason. he chooses to be amused. ***
*** Do passive indolent women make the best wives? Confining our discussion to the
present moment of existence, let us see how such weak creatures perform their part? Do the
women who, by the attainment of a few superficial accomplishments, have strengthened the
prevailing prejudice, merely contribute to the happiness of their husbands? Do they display
their charms merely to amuse them? And have women, who have early imbibed notions of
passive obedience, sufficient character to manage a family or educate children? So far from
it, that, after surveying the history of woman, I cannot help, agreeing with the severest
satirist, considering the sex as the weakest as well as the most oppressed half of the species.
What does history disclose but marks of inferiority, and how few women have emancipated
themselves from the galling yoke of sovereign man?-So few, that the exceptions remind me
of an ingenious conjecture respecting Newton: that he was probably a being of a superior
order, accidentally caged in a human body. Following the same train of thinking, I have been
led to imagine that the few extraordinary women who have rushed in eccentrical directions
out of the orbit prescribed to their sex, were male spirits, confined by mistake in female
frames. But if it be not philosophical to think of sex when the soul is mentioned, the
inferiority must depend on the organs: or the heavenly fire. which is to ferment the clav. is
not given in equal portions.
But avoiding, as I have hitherto done, any direct comparison of the two sexes
collectively, or frankly acknowledging the inferiority of woman, according to the present
appearance of things, I shall only insist that men have increased that inferiority till women
are almost sunk below the standard of rational creatures. Let their faculties have room to
unfold, and their virtues to gain strength, and then determine where the whole sex must
stand in the intellectual scale. Yet let it be remembered, that for a small number of
distinguished women I do not ask a place.
It is difficult for us purblind mortals to say to what height human discoveres and
improvements may arrive when the gloom of despotism subsides, which makes us stumble
at every step; but, when morality shall be settled on a more solid basis, then, without being
gifted with a prophetic spirit, I will venture to predict that woman will be either the friend
or slave of man. We shall not, as at present, doubt whether she is a moral agent, or the link
which unites man with brutes. But, should it then appear, that like the brutes they were
principally created for the use of man, he will let them patiently bite the bridle, and not
mock them with empty praise; or, should their rationality be proved, he will not impede
their improvement merely to gratify his sensual appetites. He will not, with all the graces of
rhetoric, advise them to submit implicitly their understanding to the guidance of man. He
will not, when he treats of the education of women, assert that they ought never to have the
free use of reason, nor would he recommend cunning and dissimulation to beings who are
acquiring, in like manner as himself, the virtues of humanity.
Surely there can be but one rule of right, if morality has an eternal foundation, and
whoever sacrifices virtue, strictly so called, to present convenience, or whose duty it is to act
in such a manner, lives only for the passing day, and cannot be an accountable creature. ***
These may be termed Utopian dreams. -Thanks to that Being who impressed them on
my soul, and gave me sufficient strength of mind to dare to exert my own reason, till,
becoming dependent only on him for the support of my virtue. I view, with indignation, the
mistaken notions that enslave my sex.
Brutal force has hitherto governed the world, and that the science of politics is in its
infancy, is evident from philosophers scrupling to give the knowledge most useful to man
that determinate distinction.
I shall not pursue this argument any further than to establish an obvious inference, that
as sound politics diffuse liberty, mankind, including woman, will become more wise and
1. How, according to Wollstonecraft, have women been educated?
2. What differences does Wollstonecraft acknowledge between the sexes? How have these
differences been treated, and how, does she argue, should they be treated?
3. What are the advantages of educating women with the virtues needed for independence?