How does Wollstonecraft use religion to support her argument for women’s education? Cite details from A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in your answer.

In A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Wollstonecraft uses religion to support her argument for women's education by stating that a woman fully educated in religion will be a better mother, wife, and household manager than one who is simply taught to obey whatever men tell her about religion. She states that religious education that frees the soul to make its own moral decisions is always better for society, for it adds to "the order of creation."

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Wollstonecraft counters ideas in Rousseau and in educational circles in general at the time that stated women should be taught only to obey what their fathers, husbands, and church authorities had to say about religion. She argues, instead, that being fully educated in the moral principles of religious faith in...

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Wollstonecraft counters ideas in Rousseau and in educational circles in general at the time that stated women should be taught only to obey what their fathers, husbands, and church authorities had to say about religion. She argues, instead, that being fully educated in the moral principles of religious faith in a rational way will help a woman be a better daughter, wife, and mother than a woman who is left ignorant about religion.

Using the biblical idea from Genesis that woman was created as a "help meet" for her husband, Wollstonecraft urges a full education for women, including religious instruction, stating:

I entreat them [husbands] to assist to emancipate their companion to make her a help meet for them!

Would men but generously snap our chains, and be content with rational fellowship, instead of slavish obedience, they would find us more observant daughters, more affectionate sisters, more faithful wives, more reasonable mothers—in a word, better citizens.

Much is entrusted to women, Wollstonecraft says, including being the primary child-rearers at home, as well as managers of households that include servants. Most middle-class women, she states, are brought up to be silly, vain, and manipulative, and this is not the best background for raising morally upright children who will be an asset to society. Further, this background is not the best way to fulfill God's command that wife be a help meet to her husband, and it doesn't help her to guide her servants. It would be far better for women to be fully grounded in religion and able to think rationally about it. As she states:

An immortal soul, not restrained by mechanical laws, and struggling to free itself from the shackles of matter, contributes to, instead of disturbing, the order of creation, when, co-operating with the Father of spirits, it tries to govern itself by the invariable rule that, in a degree, before which our imagination faints, the universe is regulated.

She also states that a woman thoroughly grounded in religion is more likely to remain pure:

A Christian has still nobler motives to incite her to preserve her chastity and acquire modesty, for her body has been called the Temple of the living God; of that God who requires more than modesty of mien. His eye searcheth the heart; and let her remember, that if she hopeth to find favour in the sight of purity itself, her chastity must be founded on modesty, and not on worldly prudence; or verily a good reputation will be her only reward; for that awful intercourse, that sacred communion, which virtue establishes between man and his Maker, must give rise to the wish of being pure as he is pure!

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