Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Miranda, Wilma

Degree Name

M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership and Educational Policy Studies


Women--Europe; Women--United States; Women--Ukraine; Women--Education; Ukraine--Civilization


This thesis investigates the concepts of female freedom, independence, liberty, and a feminine ideal from the perspective of two intellectual and cultural traditions—Western-European/American and Eastem-Slavic/Ukrainian. The following authors were selected for analysis: Betty Friedan, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Gloria Steinem, and Simone de Beauvoir, who represent Western thought; Natalia Kobrynska, Olha Kobylianska, Lesia Ukrainka, Solomea Pavlychko, and the authors of Through Women’s Eves, who represent Ukrainian intellectual tradition. A comparative conceptual analysis of these selected women-centered thinkers was conducted. The analysis was done in terms of the following questions: 1. How are the concepts of female freedom and independence respectively defined in the selected Western and Ukrainian authors? 2. How do the selected authors describe the relationship of physical, intellectual, and spiritual aspirations to personal happiness? 3. How is the goal of social/political liberty related to a feminine ideal in the two traditions? 4. What are the global implications of these respective formulations for women’s education? A historical background of the development of the “woman question” in these two traditions was presented to clarify the definitions of patriarchy, emancipation, and organic feminism and to point to the differences and commonalties of the interpretation of women’s issues by Westem-European/American and Ukrainian female intellectuals. The specific, distinctive features of each tradition were identified. Western womencentered thought is heavily grounded in a classical liberal tradition. A priority is thus given to economic, social, and political issues with regard to women’s position in the public and private endeavors. The Ukrainian thinkers, in contrast, drew extensively from their national stories—myths, legends, symbols, ideals, and models—dating back to the ninth century. Christianity, Orthodoxy in particular, and spiritual ideals played a more significant role in their works than political or economic theory. It was found that both traditions share similar concerns with the dilemmas facing contemporary women in their various societies. Common dangers and costs threaten women’s full liberation under a global market economy where male privilege remains entrenched. Without full participation of women in decision-making processes, democracy for women can be eroded in the West and stifled in Ukraine. Education can be a powerful tool to raise women’s consciousness and bring change in their lives. Studies like this, therefore, may contribute enormously to a cultural enrichment of a feminist tradition. The findings of this research may be applied at all educational levels-elementary, secondary, high-school—and in adult education.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [154]-157)


v, 157 pages




Northern Illinois University

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