AP European History
Women’s roles within the family had long been central to femininity in early modern Europe, and the eighteenth century was no exception. In some ways, the family grew in its importance to female identity in the Enlightenment age. Education played a prominent role and became encouraged more than ever before, but mainly on the basis of their eventual role as mothers. Women’s reproductive function became their sole claim to significance. Mothers and wives were elevated as man’s ...view middle of the document...
She made the argument for women to receive a careful education in order to contribute to society and become more notable and against the slavish obedience to share rights in order emulate the virtues of man. Other scholars such as J.A Sharpe criticized the view of a women’s first duty as obedience and subordination to her husband, as well as how marriage consisted of mutual support and equal contribution. This view of marriage became a milestone for the role of women in the eighteenth century as women progressed from being obedient and subordinate to their husband. This idea was supported by the growing opinions that women should be educated too, and how they showed a desire for education and ability to gain access to it. Women of this century moved into a new role as female literacy increased and the chances of a girl getting an elementary education were much better.
The desire for literacy and views on marriage contributed to the change in the role of women in the 18th century. A slow inching away from the belief of subordination to the husband and toward a relationship with love and shared responsibility.