Judith Sargent Murray On The Equality Of The Sexes

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The document "On the Equality of the Sexes" by Judith Sargent Murray reveals the author's arguments on gender inequality in America. Published in 1790 in the Massachusetts Magazine, Murray's thoughts on the matter of women's education stems from her own experience on denied opportunities because of her gender. She was not allowed to attend college for the simple fact that she was a female, but had studied alongside her brother while he was preparing for college. This shows that despite her sex, she was just as capable as a male in terms of intellectual capacity and it was unfair that she was not allowed to further this pursuit.

One the many effects after the Revolution was the expansion of the public sphere in which many groups began questioning
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Murray says that it is only because they are denied the freedom to education that they are seen as lacking. Therefore, that argument against them cannot be fairly made. She goes on by comparing two children. Even though a two year old girl is generally seen as more perceptive than her male counterpart of the same age, the boy will be the one allowed to pursue knowledge, while the girl is treated to a different schooling. Murray says the inadequacy of females is therefore not inherent in nature, but because of the restraints placed by society. If they were given the same liberty, it would allow them to conceive positive ideas and thoughts that would benefit everybody. The thought that women should only be constrained to their domestic duties is degrading because for a person capable of the worship of God and the ability to ponder over religious ideas, they are not allowed to contemplate anything other than simple, menial tasks. She finishes by saying that the souls of women are equal to men even if they are not physically equal. However, just because men are physically superior does not mean that also translates to mental superiority. If anything, it shows that women were given the capacity of an intelligent mind to compensate this shortcoming. She again stresses that it is the equality of education that is being sought after.

The essay by Murray is important because it demonstrates just one of the many thoughts that were increasingly being expressed by women of the time. The essay was written at a time where the prevailing idea of male superiority in society was still so ingrained, attempts at changing the status quo were impractical. However, it did help to foster the debate over women's status in the new nation that would continue over the next

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