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The 17th and 18th centuries saw the embryonic stage of womens quest for intellectual and social parity with men The evolution of womens fight for equal opportunities was bogged down by a long history of stereotyping and condescension Women were weaker physically bore children and nurtured them The economics and culture of Europe at this time was strongly influenced by religion and resulted in prejudice against women The dominating religions of Europe in the 1600s and 1700s Catholicism and Protestantism citing the bible reinforced womens roles as mothers wives and homemakers Women were considered the weaker sex both physically and mentally Men and most women assumed that because women gave birth and produced milk for their infants God intended that their place was in the home Mens egos as well did not allow for women to compete with them Males thought their place was to rule fight wars provide income teach and be the head of his family Women were not accepted in academics politics church leadership business or the military Despite these prejudices women saw an opportunity in the sciences As a discipline based on observations and deductive reasoning it did not necessarily require a comprehensive academic background Since most women were deprived of the more advanced education that men received it was the perfect field for them to begin their pursuit of equality As a result a growing number of women actively participated in scientific research in chemistry astronomy biology botany medicine and entomology In documents two and five the womens interests in science as well as their need for some sort of education were expressed Document five simply explains that women as well as men can hold an interest as well as succeed in science In document two written by Marie Meurdrac a French scientist the statement was made that minds have no sex and if the minds of women were cultivated like those of men they would be equal to the
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