[LMB] Spirit Ring - Fathers & Daughters

alayne at twobikes.ottawa.on.ca alayne at twobikes.ottawa.on.ca
Tue Sep 7 03:05:16 BST 2021

Is this your daily troll attempt, Matthew?

Why women have needed numeracy and literacy as much as men throughout 
European history -- which is not (of course) to say that either sex would 
always get this education:

- children are given their first education from their mothers. A literate 
mother has children who are introduced to education earlier and are more 
likely to take to it.

- because of wars, disease, and accidents, many women have been widowed and 
had to support themselves and their children. Their job at that point was 
not to gestate but to find work to support themselves & their family.

- for women who were homemakers on farms, that job was substantially 
larger than how we perceive it today -- supervising household staff, 
feeding large numbers of farm labourers as well as family, making and 
tracking budgets, putting down food for winter (without which you'd 
starve), supervising children's education, making clothing (which also 
involves measuring and altering patterns and understanding measurements), 

- for women whose husbands were artisan or tradespeople, the whole family 
often worked in the shop -- numeracy/literacy again likely required. And 
there are many cases on record of women inheriting their husbands' 
businesses and continuing them.

- innkeepers -- again many cases of women running inns either with their 
husbands or alone as widows. And to do that definitely requires literacy 
and numeracy.

Most women may not have acquired Latin or Greek, but that didn't mean they 
were uneducated. And certainly with the spread of the Reformation and the 
Bible in the vernacular, there was an even greater push for teaching 
everyone to read so they could read the Holy Word and the Prayer Book for 
themselves. And this would still be well before infant/maternal mortality 
was significantly reduced.

(And BTW, the greatest reduction in infant mortality is relatively 
recent, and certainly well after the increase in girls' education.

To quote the CDC:
"At the beginning of the 20th century, for every 1000 live births, six to 
nine women in the United States died of pregnancy-related complications, 
and approximately 100 infants died before age 1 year (1,2). From 1915 
through 1997, the infant mortality rate declined greater than 90% to 7.2 
per 1000 live births, and from 1900 through 1997, the maternal mortality 
rate declined almost 99% to less than 0.1 reported death per 1000 live 
births (7.7 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1997) (3) (Figure 1 and 
Figure 2). Environmental interventions, improvements in nutrition, 
advances in clinical medicine, improvements in access to health care, 
improvements in surveillance and monitoring of disease, increases in 
education levels, and improvements in standards of living contributed to 
this remarkable decline (1)."

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm4838a2.htm )


On Mon, 6 Sep 2021, Matthew George wrote:

> It's very easy to condemn characters that think educating women was a
> waste.  But, for quite a long part of European history, it =was=.  (Other
> world cultures are too complex for me to say anything about.)  There's no
> point in giving young women skills they won't have an opportunity to use.
> Not until women have the freedom to not spend their entire lives gestating
> and caring for children do their non-homemaking skills matter.  And that's
> determined by when infant mortality is reduced to the point that people can
> reasonably expect an infant to survive to adulthood.

Alayne McGregor
alayne at twobikes.ottawa.on.ca

What we need is a tough new kind of feminism with no illusions. ... We
need a kind of feminism that aims not just to assimilate into the
institutions that men have created over the centuries, but to infiltrate
and subvert them. -- Barbara Ehrenreich

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