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Treasure 101: Advice to Women
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Treasure 101: Advice to Women

Historic Documents
Léa Moreau
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Treasure 101: Advice to Women
Historic Documents
Treasure 101: Advice to Women
In recognition of International Women's Day (March 8th), we offer a selection of books for this month's treasure which highlight the role of women in society, and how attitudes and approaches have changed over time. One of our Treasures this month includes a work entitled "The Five Talents of Woman" in which the author (a male) proposes the five main talents as:

- Pleasing people
- Feeding them in dainty ways
- Clothing them
- Keeping them orderly
- Teaching them

With the exception of the final "talent", the author proposes a rather limited view of a woman's capabilities! However, this is from the same author who writes that "Shakespeare's mother could not have written Hamlet, but she - perhaps she alone - could and did produce Shakespeare".

Offered as a contrasting view for our Treasures, is another work: "Pearls for Young Ladies", in which the author (female) rightly comments that "we scarcely ever, in our study of education, ask this most essential of all questions about a man - What patience had his mother or sister with him?" Regardless of the viewpoints proposed, the truth remains that even at the close of the Victorian period, one key symbol of equality - that of the parliamentary franchise - was still denied to women. All later developments towards equality - including the Suffragette movement, and the right to vote - can trace their origins to the early Victorian writers who began to propose, argue and question how society should treat women. While it may be claimed that these writers did very little to progress the situation, it can also be proposed that the conversation they started is one that remains with us today.

Find out more about Victorian attitudes towards women in the Treasures from our Collections interactive exhibition on the touchscreen.
Aberdeen Local Studies
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