Category: 1700-1799

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is significant for women’s legal history in two important respects. First, the ideas contained within the book constitute an eloquent and passionate articulation of women’s equality and their need for civil and political rights. Second, those ideas have remained relevant over the course of the next two centuries and more, not just for feminist thought, but more broadly. The issues that Wollstonecraft tackles were – and continue to be – central to women’s social, economic, legal and political emancipation.

Anna Jobe


Colour painting of Mary Wollstonecraft holding a book
John Opie, Mary Wollstonecraft (Mrs William Godwin), 1790-1791 from Tate [CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported) (]
Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is a pioneering call for equality and for the extension of civil and political rights to women. Vindication argued that women could reason as well as men, if they were educated and in which cases there would be no justification for their exclusion. Women’s oppression was directly linked with their lack of education. It was also was critical of a number of other issues, including the lack of job opportunities, representation in government, and an independent civil existence outside of marriage for women.

The full version of this landmark is written by Anna Jobe.

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A Vindication of the Rights of Woman;

Charlotte Gordon, Mary Wollstonecraft was the original ‘bad feminist’

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Project leaders, Rosemary Auchmuty and Erika Rackley, talk to Elizabeth Woodcraft about the aims, methodology and ambitions for the Project for PodAcademy

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