Mary Wollstonecraft - Notable Women in History Series

Photo Courtesy:

Mary Wollstonecraft was an English writer who dedicated her life’s work to advancing the rights of women. Born in 1759 to an abusive father who made several failed business ventures, Mary left home at the age of 21, following the unsettling death of her mother.

Mary derived her livelihood from her work as a school teacher and later as a governess. These experiences prompted her views in Thoughts on the Education of Daughters (1787). In 1788, she began working for a publisher known for his radical texts, James Johnson, who published a number of her works.

Published in 1792, her work A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is largely considered her most profound, as it addresses a woman’s place in society and the importance of equal levels of education between men and women. Many consider it to be a piece at the forefront of the feminist movement for its position that if women were educated in the same way that men were, they would not only make excellent wives and mothers, but also skilled workers. While she is not the only feminist who held this belief, Wollstonecraft’s work was unique in its suggestion of a radical evolution of the education system of her time.

It’s safe to say that Wollstonecraft’s intellectual and thought-provoking works deem her a notable woman in history. Without her efforts and conviction, the opportunities for education of men and women in this age might still be different.