Mary Wollstonecraft and Jean-Jacques Rousseau have contrasting opinions on the role of women in society. Women may play a variety of roles in society as long as they are not constrained by rules or individuals considered to be dominant in their lives. In the civilized world, men and women assume almost equal roles in society, and both play important roles in maintaining the advancement of social institutions. God granted all an equal opportunity to engage in the growth of civilization, and women should be entitled to the same rights as men; thus, they should take on all possible positions in ensuring the progressive progress of society. The paper discusses the views of Mary Wollstonecraft and Rousseau on the roles of women in the society and how they contribute to the development of social well-being.
According to Rousseau, the role of women ends at the family level, they are only meant to give birth and to take care of children and family at home. Rousseau states that because of their critical roles in the family, they should only specialize in the areas of education that pertain to family life. The domestic management courses will best suit their roles at home. Consequently, according to Mary Wollstonecraft, it is the woman’s responsibility to give birth and raise the children in order to make them being able to acquire the moral life in the societal setup. On the other hand, the participation of women in the society is also a critical process that leads to an inclusive society. Mary Wollstonecraft elaborates that women are suffering from the restriction of men who always want to make sure that they remain under control. Their perception of the world and rational thinking is usually suppressed, a situation that often makes them remain weaker even with the advancement in the social life. Today, there are still some societies who believe that women should not be included in the decision making the process for they lack the moral authority to reason before men. Mary Wollstonecraft states that the only solution to such women is education, advancing the education for women will make them expound their reasoning. Through education, women will be able to become active contributors in the society.
According to Rousseau, men and women have different roles that they ought to play in order to integrate the society. The education for both men and women should, therefore, be upheld in order to ensure an equal and progressive society. Rousseau believes that women should be educated to take care of their families, homes, and to comfort men. The role of women in the family is very important in ensuring an integrated family. According to Wollstonecraft, the ethical standards that guide men and women should be the same and rational, he believes that men and women are capable of achieving equal responsibilities.
Enlightenment concept of natural rights stipulates that both men and women have equal rights, the rights are God-given and they should be exercised by every society. The enlightenment concepts enable men and women both in the developing and advanced societies to realize the rights and freedom of women and to regulate the circumstances under which people should adopt equality in the societal setup. The developing societies with strong traditional cultures benefited greatly from the idea of natural rights. In these societies, women were absolutely suppressed and their roles were limited to the household and giving birth, they were subjected to intense oppression is some uncivilized societies. With the rise of natural rights, women in these societies were able to see light; the establishment of the women’s rights enables the equal development social, economic and social rights.
The writers tried to address the concept of natural rights; Mary Wollstonecraft concentrates on the natural laws that guide the social existence of men and women in the society, both the writers advocate for the education for women. The natural laws require that every individual has an equal chance of enjoying the civil rights irrespective of the gender. Both the writers elaborate on the gender balance and this is the basis of the natural rights. Although Mary Wollstonecraft and Rousseau differ in their perception, they tend to converge at a point where the reason that women are entitled to an education. The natural rights involve the acquisition knowledge which is often characterized by the involvement in the education for the purposes of acquiring knowledge in various fields. Both Mary Wollstonecraft and Rousseau are very important contributors to the advancement in social life, they advocate for the rights of women in the society and the equality that comes with them. The ideas of Mary Wollstonecraft and Rousseau have enabled the advancement of human rights, especially in the developing societies. Most of the developing cultures are now stressing on the education in order to empower women in various specialization areas. The Enlightenment concept of natural rights according to Mary Wollstonecraft and Rousseau involved the education rights and the equal contribution of women in the society.