WORDS ABOUT WORDS
I would earnestly ask my sisters to keep clear of both the jargons now current everywhere (for they are equally jargons); of the jargon, viz., about the "rights" of woman, which urges woman to do all that men do, including the medical and other professions, merely because men do it, and without regard to whether this is the best that woman can do; and of the jargon which urges women to do nothing that men do, merely because they are women, and should be "recalled to a sense of their duty as women," and because "this is women's work," and "that is men's" and "these are things which women should not do," which is all assertion, and nothing more. Surely woman should bring the best she has, whatever that is, to the work of God's world, without attending to either of these cries. . . . Oh, leave these jargons, and go your way straight to God's work, in simplicity and singleness of heart!
Florence Nightingale, English nurse, Notes on Nursing, 1859
Posted on January 24, 2001 at 2:21 PM