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Darwin Correspondence Project

To C. A. Kennard   9 January 1882

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | (Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.)

Jan. 9th. 1882

Dear Madam

The question to which you refer is a very difficult one.1 I have discussed it briefly in my ‘Descent of Man’. I certainly think that women though generally superior to men to moral qualities are inferior intellectually; & there seems to me to be a great difficulty from the laws of inheritance, (if I understand these laws rightly) in their becoming the intellectual equals of man.2 On the other hand there is some reason to believe that aboriginally (& to the present day in the case of Savages) men & women were equal in this respect, & this wd. greatly favour their recovering this equality. But to do this, as I believe, women must become as regular “bread-winners” as are men;3 & we may suspect that the early education of our children, not to mention the happiness of our homes, would in this case greatly suffer.

I have written this letter without any care of style, as it is intended only for your private use.—

Dear Madam | Yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin


Thinks that "women though generally superior to men [in] moral qualities are inferior intellectually". Believes that men and women may have been aboriginally equal in this respect but that to regain equality women would have to "become as regular ""bread-winners"" as are men". Suspects the education of children and "the happiness of our homes" would greatly suffer in that case.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Caroline Augusta Kennard
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 185: 29
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13607,” accessed on 22 October 2021,