A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft

The introduction

First of all, I would like to highlight the most important points of the work written by Wollstonecraft. In my opinion, the main issues she wanted to draw the readers’ attention to are related to women’s dignity. So, I would to start from the basic points of the author’s introduction. In this part of the work, the author discloses the so-called “external” sides of females.

Thus, she speaks about their beauty and manners; however, she points out that these visual aspects may prevent women’s deeper socialization. In other words, women can be transformed into unpalatable creatures, who will not be able to keep up the conversation. Another point, which causes indignation, is related to the statement that women are not considered to be full-fledged members of the modern society; on the contrary, the author states that females are mostly regarded as subordinate beings.

Mary Wollstonecraft is sure that females can’t be compared with children. She states that a woman’s strength is in her brain and physical body. One more interesting point of the introduction I would like to discuss is related to the author’s main purpose. Thus, Mary doesn’t want women to read her book for entertainment. She wants females are to think about the issues she highlights and clarifies in her work.

The thesis statement

Finally, I would like you to become familiar with the main argument of the author’s work. Thus, Mary Wollstonecraft (1891) says that if a woman can’t become a full-fledged member of the society she lives in, or if she can’t be interpreted to be the companion of male, than “she will stop the progress of knowledge and virtue; for truth must be common to all, or it will be inefficacious with respect to its influence on general practice” (p. 26).

The body

To my mind, the work written by Mary Wollstonecraft contains many arguments; however, the basic one is recognized to be an argument, which is related to certain consequences, which may occur, if the situation with women’s socialization is not to be changed.

It is obvious that Wollstonecraft’s work is mostly associated with the importance of education. She highlights its meaning and she is sure that only education can help women to become full-fledged members of the society. I suppose that the author is right.

The opinion that education helps to form the personality can’t be neglected, as this statement gives reason to many other interesting and important points. For instance, taking into account the power of education, one is to make a conclusion that Wollstonecraft highlights the importance of rational thoughts and ideas. In other words, rationality is the key issue women are to rely on to avoid being neglected by the contemporary world. The author is of the opinion that males and females are to be both educated.

Generally, I would like to tell a few words about the time the work was written. Of course, the systems of education in the 19th century and in our days are totally different.

I agree that education plays an important role in life of human beings. However, in spite of the fact that in the 19th century education was less important than now, I have to say that still Mary Wollstonecraft’s work is recognized to be quite important. Of course, the issues concerning women’s socialization have been changed; however, it seems that a vindication of the rights of women will always be a point of discussion.

So, one of the most important peculiarities of the work the readers are to keep in mind is the definition of females in Wollstonecraft’s days. That is really the key point as according to the author’s viewpoint, females were considered to be subservient beings.

The expectations of women the author describes impress by their naivety. For instance, when the author says that women are taught that “cunning, softness of temper, outward obedience, and a scrupulous attention to a puerile kind of propriety” may help them to be happy, she, at the same time, discloses how painful or hard the truth can be. Good expectations are recognized to be the most dangerous, as they are early or premature. That is why it is rationality, which is one of the most important issues the author appeals to.

In my opinion, Wollstonecraft decided to write a serious work, as she had studied numerous aspects of women’s socialization. “Still I must declare what I firmly believe, that all the writers who have written on the subject of female education and manners, from Rousseau to Dr Gregory, have contributed to render women more artificial, weak characters…” (Wollstonecraft, 1891, p. 18). For this reason, the woman investigates education issues and proves their importance and impact on a vindication of women’s rights.

The conclusion

Finally, the last point I want to use as a conclusion is the quotation. “Let woman share the rights and she will emulate the virtues of man; for she must grow more perfect when emancipated, or justify the authority that chains such a weak being to her duty” (Wollstonecraft, 1891, p. 281). So, I suppose that was the way the problem could be resolved.


Wollstonecraft, M. (1891). A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. London: Walter Scott. Retrieved February 27, 2012, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=10902695