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Vicious circle

“In the history of women, there is probably no matter, apart from contraception, more important than literacy.  With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, access to power required knowledge of the world.  This could not be gained without reading and writing, skills that were granted to men long before they were to women.  Deprived of them, women were condemned to stay home with the livestock, or, if they were lucky, with the servants.  (Alternatively, they may have been the servants.)  Compared with men, they led mediocre lives.  In thinking about wisdom, it helps to read about wisdom—about Solomon or Socrates or whomever.  Likewise, goodness and happiness and love.  To decide whether you have them, or want to make the sacrifices necessary to get them, it is useful to read about them.  Without such introspection, women seemed stupid; therefore, they were considered unfit for education; therefore, they weren’t given an education; therefore they seemed stupid.” – Joan Acocella, “Turning the Page”

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