Charlotte Perkins Gilman Assignment

1140 words - 5 pages

Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a self-proclaimed philosopher, writer, educator and an intellectual activist of the women's movement from the late 1890's through the mid-1920's. She demanded equal treatment for women as the best means to advance society's progress. She was an extraordinary woman who waged a lifelong battle against the restrictive social codes for women in late nineteenth-century America.Mrs. Gilman was born Charlotte Anna Perkins on July 3, 1860, in Providence, Rhode Island. She was the grandniece of Harriet Beecher Stowe. She attributed her lifelong talent for speaking and her writing ability to her Beecher heritage. Most of what Charlotte learned was self-taught, since ...view middle of the document...

She would share the opportunities, duties and responsibilities of the workplace with men, and together they would take care of their home. Finally, this new woman was to be informed, assertive, confident, and influential, as well as compassionate, loving, and sensitive, at work and at home. This vision of the future female went against the traditional role of womanhood, not to mention the concepts and values of family, home, religion, community, and democracy.These views have labeled Gilman as a feminist, but theses ideas clearly have a place within educational history. Gilman showed the need to develop higher learning institutions for teacher education and to offer women a place that would train them to think more critically. She viewed the education of women as an essential part of a democratic society. She felt by educating women and thus feminizing society that gender discrepancies within society would end.Gilman began to explore the issue of gender discrepancy within society in the mid-1880's when she first began her career as a writer. Her first published essays focused on the inequality found within marriage and child-rearing. Her well received short story The Yellow Wallpaper told the story of a new mother who was nearly driven insane by the overwhelming traditional duties piled upon her as a wife and mother. The story mirrored that of her own experiences after the birth of her only child.In her highly successful publication of Women and Economics, she studied the issues of gender discrepancy and the relationship between education and women. Gilman stated that humans "are the only animal species in which the female depends upon the male for food, the only animal in which the sex-relation is also an economic relation." She said that women's economic dependence resulted in their being "denied the enlarged activities, which have developed intelligence in man, denied the education of the will, which only comes, by freedom and power." To Gilman, the liberation of women required education and the opportunity to use what they learned to establish social as well as economic independence.In Gilman's journal called the Forerunner, she said the goal of education was to teach men, women and children to think for themselves instead of excepting other people's opinions as their o...

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