Updating Motherhood: Science and the Enlightenment of Women

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Updating Motherhood 2.0: Science and the Enlightenment of Women Before there was the enlightenment of women there was a scientific revolution. And one of the critical facts of that transformation was a notion by the men of science that they should not look back to the works and understandings of the past (Brown, 2008). Without the benefit of objective theories and practices, that knowledge was at best untrustworthy and surely contaminated by the minds of the untrained. In such an environment of intellectual uncertainty it shouldn't be a surprise that some would try to take advantage of that opportunity. Which was very likely why some women of the times took that opportunity to plant their seeds of educational enlightenment and empowerment. That, after all, was what the concept of a new and open exploration of science was supposed to be about (Guyer, 2004). Moderata Fonte, one of the earliest of recognized Italian advocates for equal formal education between the genders, unapologetically moved forward to be heard on this front in the late 1500s, sharing the kind of assessment that would mark the movement from then forward. As she said of the circumstances in one of the most powerful of early commentaries on The Worth of Women: Do you really believe ... that everything historians tell us about men or about women is actually true? You ought to consider the fact that these histories have been written by men, who never tell the truth except by accident. And if you

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