Women were kept illiterate.
(They still are: in developing countries, between five and ten times as many women will be illiterate as men, with the illiteracy rate for women sometimes exceeding 90%. Nearly 70% of the world’s adult illiterates are female.)
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If women did become literate, their writing was suppressed, destroyed, mocked, ignored, attributed to a man, or condemned as unreadable.
What is surprising is that women have written so much and so well.
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Men have no right to say where are your great women writers when they have for millennia been so busy keeping women out of the arts and then belittling their work or erasing the memory of their existence if they found an entrée.