The Subjection of Women

John Stuart Mill

Chapter 3, Footnote #01

Especially is this true if we take into consideration Asia as well as Europe. If a Hindu principality is strongly, vigilantly, and economically governed; if order is preserved without oppression; if cultivation is extending, and the people prosperous, in three cases out of four that principality is under a woman's rule. This fact, to me an entirely unexpected one, I have collected from a long knowledge of Hindu governments. There are many such instances: for though, by Hindu institutions, a woman cannot reign, she is the legal regent of a kingdom during the minority of the heir; and minorities are frequent, the lives of the male rulers being so often prematurely terminated through the effect of inactivity and sensual excesses. When we consider that these princesses have never been seen in public, have never conversed with any man not of their own family except from behind a curtain, that they do not read, and if they did there is no book in their languages which can give them the smallest instruction on political affairs; the example they afford of the natural capacit of women for government is very striking.

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SW Chapter 3