This chapter explores men's attempts to legitimate—and initiate—equal education for men and women, perceived by many as the most important step that could be taken to liberate the “fair sex,” and also reviews the disagreements that arose between them on the question of intent. It is suggested that certain men were drawn to feminist arguments at least in part because of, rather than in defiance of, gallantry. Women ought to work as “companions and assistants, as mothers and tutors” in all the “learned and sedentary professions,” in whatever combination or combinations they might choose. It is noted that true perfection depended on “cultivating” women to be men's intellectual equals, and on encouraging them to play a more prominent and equitable role in the nation's public life.
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