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The 1600s and 1700s brought an explosion of philosophical thought to northern Europe - and many of those philosophers were women. In England in the 1600s, Margaret Cavendish argued that people don't have souls, and are just another kind of animal. Mary Astell disagreed - she thought education and passion together helped people learn to love God. Damaris Masham dismissed the emotions, and thought science and reason were the path to God.
In France, Emilie du Chatelet used mathematics to figure out that the energy of a moving object is not proportional to its velocity, as Newton and Voltaire had thought, but to the square of its velocity. In the late 1700s Mary Wollstonecraft argued that all people should be equal under the law. In the 1950s, back in France again, Simone de Beauvoir tried to work out what morality meant - how do we know what is good or bad, if there is no God?
All of these women worked hard to get girls the right to go to school, and for equal rights for women, but they also proved that they didn't have to only think about "women's issues" - like men, women could contribute to our understanding of God, morals, physics, and everything else.
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