Report of Diss U3A August meeting

Jennifer Kelsey’s talk  “Mary Wollstencraft  Was Not Alone”  highlighted the lives of 18th Century English women during the period 1700-1830 and the challenges faced by strong minded women like Mary Wollstencraft who were determined to change attitudes towards  womens’ lives and education.

The next meeting of Diss U3A will take place on 5th September  at Diss United Reformed Church commencing at 10.30am.

For further information on Diss U3A please visit our website or telephone 01379 642674.

Reading passages from classic novels  Jennifer  illustrated the way in which women were  treated. Those from middleclass backgrounds,  education beyond good manners, social graces, reading and needlework was usually all that was deemed necessary to secure a suitable marriage. The choice of husband  often being left to male relatives upon whom many women were financially dependent.  Education of women was not considered to be important as an inquiring mind and strong opinions were virtues rarely required by prospective husbands, a subservient attitude and robust constitution being far more important qualities in a future wife. Some single women from wealthier backgrounds were fortunate enough to be well educated and spent their time writing romantic novels and although they wrote about life, love and marriage it was in reality a world in which they had very little experience. Education was an expense reserved for the males in the family who from childhood had benefitted from a very different set of morals and expectations. A man’s infidelities could be overlooked and forgiven whereas a  woman’s fall from grace could see the loss not only of her reputation but also of her home , income and children.  Women such as Mary Wollstencraft refused to accept these double standards and in Jennifer’s book “ A Voice Of Discontent”  she looks closely at this period of history and at the women who saw the need for change.

The next meeting of Diss U3A will take place on 5th September  at Diss United Reformed Church commencing at 10.30am.

For further information on Diss U3A please visit our website or telephone 01379 642674.

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