婦女應受不同的高等教育嗎?

M‧凱裡‧托馬斯 (M. CAREY THOMAS)

婦女應受不同的高等教育嗎?
Should Higher Education for Women Differ?

 

    只要在各行各業中、有男女競爭,有男女交往,那麼,男女為同一職業所做的準備就不能有兩樣而又心安理得。


    M‧凱裡‧托馬斯(1857-1935)似乎生來就是一個女權主義者。還是孩提時代,她就立意要接受大學教育,以求自立。她出生於巴爾提摩一個著名的貴格教家庭,是家裏九個小孩中年歲最大的。她先是就讀於康奈爾大學,然後入約翰士‧霍普金斯研究學院(在那裏被拒參加研究生討論會),最後在蘇黎世大學獲文學博士學位。回美國不久,她被任命為賓夕法尼亞新創立的布林‧莫爾學院的一個系主任。十一年後,也就是1899年,她成為該院院長。從此她致力於建設一個在課程設置及綜合水平方面,都能與最好的男子學院相匹敵的國內一流女子學院。

    l899年,托馬斯因反駁哈佛大學校長查爾斯‧W‧艾略特而聞名全國。艾略特曾宣稱,從歷史繼承下來的偉大知識遺產「對婦女教育毫無用處」,因而必須去尋找新的模式。托馬斯反駁說,艾略特倒不如讓婦女教育家去發明「一種新的交響樂,一種新的戲劇,一個新的貝多芬,一個新的瓦格納,一些新的塑像,新的繪畫,一個新的菲狄亞斯(西元前五世紀希臘雕刻家──譯者注),一個新的提香……所有這一切要比為婦女創造一個知識的新天地更容易。」

    在1901年發表的這篇文章裏,托馬斯闡明了應為男女設置同樣的高等教育課程的理由。


    假如婦女為了自立,必須以醫生或律師身份與男子競爭,那麼,不管是醫生還是律師、是男性還是女性,所能獲得的最佳訓練是什麼呢? 沒有任何理由認為,女醫生用一種方法治癒傷寒、猩紅熱或肺結核,而男醫生治療這些疾病就得用另一種方法。我們完全有理由認為,病人要得不到最佳的治療就得死去。醫生性別對醫療結果的影響要比病人性別的影響還要微乎其微。只要我們深信世上絕無獨特的婦女治病之道,問題就再明瞭不過了。因此,在法律、建築、電力、以及所有力學藝術、技術學科裏,我們都必須致力於提供最科學的教育,最廣泛的訓練,使男女學生都能在自己選擇的職業中發揮出最高水準。假定分別有男女兩位橋樑建造者,要去建造指定的一座橋,在建造這一獨特的橋及其它一般的橋的力學規律總是不變的情況下,簡直不可想像,男女建造者所受的基本教育應有所不同;更不可想像,只是因為在施工時,一個穿燈籠褲,另一個穿防雨裙,而必須讓他們在質量、數量及教學方法上接受不同的教育。你或許以為,上帝並不想讓婦女去建造橋樑。當然,你有權持這種偏見。但既然你生活於美國,而不是亞洲或非洲內陸,那麼你可能無法將這種偏見強加給希望成為橋樑建造者的婦女。你可能會說,婦女的智力無法使她們建造出好橋樑。假如你認為這一觀點是正確的,其他一切你都不必操心了──婦女建的橋反正大都要塌陷,能建造出好橋樑的男人將把她們擠出這一行業的競爭。這些都還只是枝節問題,不管今後如何給予限定,根本影響不了我們提出的主要問題,即在職業技術學校裏男女應學同樣的課程。你可能會進一步說,男女應分開,而不是要在同一所學校學醫、學法律、學橋樑建築。但過去經驗及現時實踐,都無法使人就男女同校學習,提出任何令人信服的反對意見;而且公眾輿論也是一邊倒,對你們的觀點極為不利。在這種情況下,你若堅持讓職業技術學校的昂貴設施,專為女子教育而依樣畫葫蘆地重添一套,未免過於愚蠢、過於浪費了。為方便討論,我們不妨假設每一所男子職業技術學校旁,都並排辦有類似的女子學校。可專門為女子教育另開職業學校對於解決這種學校該教什麼的問題仍於事無補。只要在各行各業中,有男女競爭,有男女交往,那麼,男女為同一職業所做的準備就不能有兩樣而又心安理得。假如男子準備充分,準備不足的女子將在競爭中落伍;假如女子更有準備,準備不夠的男子在與女子競爭中將吃虧……

    上述觀點同樣適用於大學文理研究所的教育。據統計,絕大多數男女研究生畢業後打算從事高等教育的職業,在美國研究生中有三分之一多是女性,而且研究生的年增長率,女性要超過男性。在基礎階段的教學隊伍中,男性幾乎已經停止與女性競爭;在更高階段,即大學教學隊伍中,女性則剛剛開始與男性競爭;在這一競爭中,女性遇到前所未有的男職業性嫉妒。在美國,獨立的女子學院僅有十一所,而男女同校的學院則有三百三十六所。只有在女子學院中,女教師才有機會與男教師競爭教授位置。男女同校的學院聘任女教師是很罕見的,有的話,也只是根據需要和慣例,指派她們負責女生的紀律或家庭生活。當女性在男女同校的學院裏與男性一道執教時,女教師的成功將招來男教師的極端不滿。由於這種性別嫉妒,學院院長及董事會理事(按常規是清一色的男性)即便有心也無法真正增加女教師人數,無法給女教師晉級。但選修課制度使我們發現,男生卻沒有這種性嫉妒,他們肯定女教師教學能力的方式,就是擁向優秀女教師的課堂。在中小學,女教師總的說來工作成績大大超過男教師,取得了輝煌的成果,所以一旦取消人為的限制,在大學教學中,她們將必定取得同樣的成功。教師職業本來正是女性的用武之地,可在其最高分支領域,現在的偏見對她們極為不利。在這種情況下,沒有人再可以固執己見,使女性雪上加霜,讓她們接受與男性不同的職業訓練……

    當然這種推論還不夠全面,我們還得考慮是否真有某些專業尤其適合女性,因此需要開辦特殊的女子技術學校。答案是肯定的,確有三種職業學校,其中女生已大大超過男生,即師範學校(包括大學的師範系)、幼教學校及圖書館學的學校。如果烹飪和家政能成為有利可圖的職業──尤其是當富有的男子果真根據烹調和衛生經驗選擇妻子,而不是像現在這樣,以妻子的社會地位及知識程度給自己增光的時候──就可能到處湧現烹飪和家政學校,而且像師範學校那樣,其生員十之八九肯定是女性。毫無疑問,假如這些學校裏都是清一色的男生,那麼怎麼教這些男生,也就怎麼教那些女生。烹飪的教授法不會因廚師的性別差異而有所不同……

    繼續論證的責任落在那些認為大學教育應對男女區別對待的人的頭上。三十年來,大學教育的內容基本上是不分男女性別的,而且女生的收穫實在可喜可賀。受過大學教育的女子跟未受過大學教育的姐妹們一樣,大都結婚,成立家庭,而且往往家庭更為美滿,因為她們選擇了大部分有職業的男性。她們也不像人們預測的那樣,死於分娩過程,而是生出了數量可觀的嬰孩,並將他們撫育成人,而不使他們早年夭折。受過大學教育的女性都是稱職的好管家,好妻子,好母親。作為教師,她們成果輝煌,令人刮目相看,以致使那些未受過大學教育的女教師正面臨著被擠出教師隊伍的厄運。總而言之,學過男子課程的女子,其成功,其能力,其健康狀態都是無可挑剔的……

    當然,離開大學後,女子的生活將有別於男子。她們當中大約一半的人謹慎地選擇了自己的如意郎君,總的說來,婚後生活輕鬆自在,不需自謀生計,感到非常快活。她們當中約有三分之一的人成為職業教師,而且可能終生執教。剩下的,大都終身未嫁,但生活輕鬆、充實,對社會有益。婦女離開大學後,只有三分之一的人,在教書這個獨特的極其有限的職業中,才得到終身從事商業或其他職業的男子所受到的更廣泛的訓練。正因為如此,婦女在大學期間應該享有最廣泛的教育。這種教育應是不分男女性別的,原因是:一、我相信最好的教育只有一種;二、男女將作為同志、知心朋友、生活伴侶,一道生活,一道工作;三、如果男女在大學裏,受到同樣的知識訓練,擁有同樣的學術嚮往,具有同樣的道德情操,那麼,他們本身卓有成效的幸福生活以及他們後代子女的幸福日子都有增無減。


Once granted that women are to compete with men for self-support as physicians or lawyers, . . . what is the best attainable training for the physician or the lawyer, man or woman? There is no reason to believe that typhoid or scarlet fever or phthisis can be successfully treated by a woman physician in one way and by a man physician in another way. There is indeed every reason to believe that unless treated in the best way the patient may die, the sex of the doctor affecting the result less even than the sex of the patient. The question needs only to be put for us to feel irrevocably sure that there is no special woman's way of dealing with disease. And so in law, in architecture, in electricity, in bridge-building, in all mechanic arts and technical sciences, our effort must be for the most scientific instruction, the broadest basis of training that will enable men and women students to attain the highest possible proficiency in their chosen profession. Given two bridge-builders, a man and a woman, given a certain bridge to be built, and given as always the unchangeable laws of mechanics in accordance with which this special bridge and all other bridges must be built, it is simply inconceivable that the preliminary instruction given to the two bridge-builders should differ in quantity, quality, or method of presentation because while the bridge is building one will wear knickerbockers and the other a rainy-day skirt. You may say you do not think that God intended a woman to be a bridge-builder. You have, of course, a right to this prejudice; but as you live in America, and not in the interior of Asia or Africa, you will probably not be able to impose it on women who -wish to build bridges. You may say that women's minds are such that they cannot build good bridges. If you are right in this opinion you need concern yourselves no furtherbridges built by women, will on the whole, tend to fall down, and the competition of men who can build good bridges will force women out of the profession. Both of these opinions of yours are side issues, and, however they may be decided hereafter, do not in the remotest degree affect the main question of a common curriculum for men and women in technical and professional schools. But you may say that men and women should study bridge building and medicine and law in separate schools, and not together. You may be foolish enough, and wasteful enough, to think that all the expensive equipment of our technical and professional schools should be duplicated for women, when experience and practice have failed to bring forward a single valid objection to professional coeducation, and when the pres- ent trend of public opinion is overwhelmingly against you; and for the sake of argument let us grant that beside every such school for men is to be founded a similar school for women. But this duplication of professional schools for women leaves us just where we were in regard to the curriculum of professional study to be taught in such women's schools. So long as men and women are to compete together, and associate together, in their professional life, women's preparation for the same profession cannot safely differ from men's. If men's preparation is better, women, who are less well prepared, will be left behind in the race; if women's is better, men will suffer in competition with women. . . .

      The above argument applies with equal force to the training given by the university graduate school of arts and sciences. Statistics indicate that an overwhelmingly large majority of men and women graduate students are fitting themselves for the profession of higher teaching, that over one-third of all graduate students in the United States are women, and that the annual increase of women graduate students is greater than that of men. In the lower grades of teaching men have almost ceased to compete with women; in the higher grade, that is, in college teaching, women are just beginning to compete with men, and this competition is beset -with the bitterest professional jealousy that women have ever had to meet, except perhaps in medicine. There are in the United States only eleven independent colleges for women of at all the same grade as the three hundred and thirty-six coeducational colleges where women and men are taught together, yet only in these separate colleges for women have women an opportunity of competing with men for professors' chairs. It is very rare indeed for coeducational colleges to employ any women instructors, and even then only so many women are as a rule employed as are needed to look after the discipline or home life of the women students. Where women are teaching in coeducational colleges side by side with men their success is regarded by men teachers with profound dislike, and on account of this sex jealousy college presidents and boards of trustees (all of whom are, as a rule, men) cannot, even if they would, materially add to the number of women teachers or advance them. The working of the elective system, however, permits us to see that men students show no such jealousy, but recognize the able teaching of women by overcrowding their classes. Women have succeeded so brilliantly, on the whole so much better than men, as primary and secondary teachers, that they will undoubtedly repeat this success in their college teaching so soon as artificial restrictions are removed. No one could seriously maintain that, handicapped as women now are by prejudice in the highest branches of a profession peculiarly their own, they should be further hampered by the professional training different from men's. . . .

      But this line of reasoning will be incomplete unless we ask ourselves whether there are not some subjects peculiar to women in which we must maintain special women's technical schools. There are certainly three professional schools where women students already largely outnumber men: normal schools, including normal departments of universities, schools of nursing, and schools for library study. If cooking and domestic service ever become lucrative professions, and more especially if men of wealth ever come to choose their wives for culinary and sanitary lore instead as at present for social and intellectual charm, such schools will tend to spring up and, like normal schools, will undoubtedly be attended almost exclusively by women. They will beyond question be taught exactly in the same way as if they were to be attended exclusively by men. The method of teaching cooking is one and the same and does not depend on the sex of the cooks. . . .

      The burden of proof is with those who believe that the college education of men and women should differ. For thirty years it has been as nearly as possible the same, with brilliantly satisfactory results, so far as concerns women. College women have married as generally as their non-college-bred sisters, and have as a rule married better than their sisters, because they have chosen a larger proportion of professional men; they have not died in childbirth, as was predicted; they have borne their proper proportion of children, and have brought up more than the usual proportion of those born; they have made efficient housekeepers and waives as well as mothers; their success as teachers has been so astonishingly great that already they are driving non-college-bred women teachers out of the field. There is, in short, not a word to be said against the success and efficiency and healthfulness of these women educated by men's curriculum. ...

      Undoubtedly the life of most women after leaving college will differ from that of men. About one-half will marry in a rather deliberate fashion, choosing carefully, and on the whole living very happily a life of comparative leisure, not of self-support; about one-third will become professional teachers, probably for life; and the greater part of the remainder will lead useful and helpful lives as unmarried women of leisure. And just because after leaving college only one-third, and that in the peculiarly limited profession of teaching, are to get the wider training of affairs that educates men engaged in business and in the professions all their lives thru, women while in college ought to have the broadest possible education. This college education should be the same as men's, not only because there is, I believe, but one best education, but because men and women are to live and work together as comrades and dear friends and married friends and lovers, and because their effectiveness and happiness and the welfare of the generation to come after them will be vastly increased if their college education has given them the same intellectual training and the same scholarly and moral ideals.