Before the time of the Enlightenment, women were not thought of the same way that men were, in the sense that they were less important. In fact, most weren’t allowed to attend school, and those who didn’t stay for long. Because of this, many of the women in the world were unable to reach their full thinking potential, solely because they weren’t even permitted to attend school. Even when they did have brilliant ideas, the public thought simply because they were women, their thoughts didn’t matter. A new society should prioritize the Enlightenment ideas of gender equality because 50% of the world’s brainpower was being cut off. Although a strong case could be made that religion would be better for a society to focus on, this argument is unconvincing because gender equality was a far more drastic change that took place, and there are still many things about it that are unequal today.
When creating a new society, the idea that should be made a priority would be those of gender equality. This is because women had brilliant ideas, some maybe even more brilliant than men. In (Doc. D), “... and they will become wise and virtuous…” is stated in a book written by Mary Wollstonecraft. This evidence suggests that educating women would make them “wise and virtuous,” as well as full of new ideas yet to be thought of. Furthermore, according to (Doc. D), “The most perfect education… to enable the individual to attain such habits of virtue as will render [her] independent. In fact, it is a farce [joke] to call any being virtuous [worthy] whose [skills] do not result from the exercise of [her] own reason.” Given the evidence, it is logical that women also had place in society. Not only does Mary Wollstonecraft believe such a thing, but she displays it in her passion, her new ideas about the world. In conclusion, clearly women were being mistreated, and very much deserved freedom.
It has been argued that religion would be a much more important idea to make a priority because many people at the time were either forced to believe in something that they didn’t, or be punished. In Letters Concerning the English Nation (Doc B), Voltaire states that “If one religion only were allowed in England, the government would very possibly become arbitrary; if there were but two, the people would cut one another’s throats; but as there are such a multitude, they all live happy and in peace.” This example is used to illustrate that the importance of religion was far superior to much else, explaining that if many religions are accepted, the world can live “happy and in peace.” Although this argument appears convincing at first, it fails to consider that if a new society is to be created, it is likely that it would have only one religion, and as stated by Voltaire himself, “... very possibly become arbitrary.” Actually, the evidence suggests that there is only a possibility of an unrestrained government, but a new society, in a new mindset, would by far be less likely to become that way (Doc B). The shows that the fact that religion is more important is misleading, considering the fact that Voltaire himself sounded unsure of such importance. Therefore, one can see that it is clear that gender equality was far more important than religion.
A new society should make gender equality a top priority. After examining the reasons, it is clear that women were just as, if not more, important than men. Both examples state that women could be some of the smartest people around, if only given the opportunity to discover their potential. If anyone should be given a chance to show what they know, it’s the women that had been oppressed for literal ages.