Mary Wollstonecraft

In the Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft wrote that the educational system for women was flawed, and consequently detrimental to the way women behaved. She considered the disposition of women in her time to be frivolous and petty, and believed that the way they acted was far beneath their dignity. She wanted women to have equal educational opportunities along with men, and criticized men for being “more anxious to make them alluring mistresses than affectionate wives and rational mothers.” She did not want women to concern themselves chiefly with inspiring love and desire in men, but in improving their own virtues. Wollstonecraft was not disparaging of the matriarchal position of women (as the later feminists were), but believed that women needed to be properly educated in order to raise their children up virtuously. She wanted greater educational opportunities for women so that they could live up to their full potential.

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