Thursday, August 25, 2005

Victorian Visionary

I'm currently reading Charlotte Mason's _Home Education_. For a book written in 1886 it's amazingly prescient at times. Check out the first paragraph:

"Not the least sign of the higher status they have gained, is the growing desire for work that obtains amongst educated women. The world wants the work of such women; and presently, as education becomes more general, we shall see all women with the capacity to work falling into the ranks of working women, with definite tasks, fixed hours, and for wages, the pleasure and honour of doing useful work if they are under no necessity to earn money."

In other words, anyone surprised to see 20th Century women enter the workforce in droves wasn't paying attention.

After a couple of supporting quotes we come to what happens to some of those among that same cadre of educated working women who then go on and choose to become mothers:

" proportion as mothers become more highly educated and efficient, they will doubtless feel the more strongly that the education of their children during the first six years of life is an undertaking hardly to be entrusted to any hands but their own. And they will take it up as their profession -- that is, with the diligence, regularity, and punctuality which men bestow on their professional labours."

In other words, anyone surprised that some of those same highly educated women, upon becoming mothers, should leave paid employment to become "attachment parenting" mothers intensely involved with their children's upbringing wasn't paying attention.

Amazing how many people weren't paying attention. Did they think "women's matters" didn't matter?

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