Women During the Scientific Revolution

During the Scientific Revolution, there was a clear split in society as to whether women should be involved in science, which can be further divided into four groups. There were the female scientists, whose point of view was largely progressive. Conversely, traditionalists unanimously thought that women were not apt to be scientists. Finally, the progressive intellectuals all felt that women could be involved with varying degrees in science. Women played a key role starting in the mid-17th century in the Scientific Revolution with mixed reactions from the intellectuals at the time. The intellectuals can effectively be grouped as female scientists, progressive males, and conservative males.
The typical European female was a housewife and her duties included raising her children, cleaning and tending to the household, and respecting her husband who was the provider of the family. In some cases, mostly in peasant families, the women and children worked along with the men to make a suitable living. But as the Scientific Revolution progressed, some intellectual individuals began to progress their span of knowledge as well. It just so happens that these individuals were sometimes women. This aroused much debate as to whether a women’s position belonged in science or not and most concluded it was the latter. The pessimists focused of the negatives of women joining the scientific community, e.g. “…she neglected her household.”(Doc1) They failed to recognize the amazing work these women achieved on their own. These attitudes began to put thoughts of doubt in the advanced minds of these women. Marie Meurdrac, a French scientist, admitted that she objected science as a lady’s profession and she should keep her knowledge to herself. Yet she validates her belief that, “…minds have no sex.”(Doc2) The discrimination of women in science continued. When men discovered that a women was a scientist, she was immediately judged and critiqued, as seen in Document 3.
On the positive...