Representations and schooling of women in society

The woman would be incapable of assuming civic responsibilities that demanded great intellectual efforts and life in society outside the domestic environment, such as school instruction. The school could be a disturbing environment for women, “harming all the efforts that nature made to ensure the proper development of female reproductive capacity”. Linked to this thought, we must consider the religiosity in the Province. A respectable girl did not have much choice and was expected to follow Marian’s ideals, commitment to the mission, and modesty. Otherwise, they would be compared to Evas, the woman who brings problems to a society that worries men and brings their ruin.

However, in the second half of the century, even if many of these ideas of inferiority were still present, we can also observe a growing intellectual practice. They begin to attend more schools write some articles for newspapers with themes, mainly ethics and education. This allows us to understand that there would not be a single representation but multiple representations of women in that time and space. Often, even marked dichotomies, advances, and setbacks.

Representations and schooling of women in society

And in this sense, this society, at the same time that it makes it submissive, contained, domesticated, and exalts the masculine condition, in the propagation of these representations, the acceptable ways of being a woman circulate that are incorporated into everyday practices and naturalized the patriarchal society of Minas Gerais.

Thus, from the second half of the 19th century, a period in which there is a more significant concern with the understanding of childhood and the Enlightenment thought that they would be more affectionate, zealous, capable of raising good children for the country, the discussion begins the importance of women¹ for primary education. It is not chance that, in practice, women began to dominate standard courses at the end of the 19th century. According to Louro , “normal schools are filled with girls. At first there are a few, than many; finally, the normal courses become women’s schools”.

At the end of the 19th century, women can also be understood as those who fight for the ideal of preparing their children, therefore civilized citizens, and if they have this sacred mission, which has its foremost theorist JJ Rousseau², but also passes through to think that she can also educate those who were not her children. In this sense, even putting the woman in the generator of children for the nation, she ascends to a prominent, important place, with a fundamental function for society, unlike the excluded, silenced. Reclusive woman of the previous century and who is made It is important to highlight that school education is a fundamental role in the transformation of women’s representations throughout the 19th century and an essential factor for the struggle for gender equality that continues to the present day.


Kim Dearborn

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