From reading the opening pages of Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman write what you think is Mary’s most important advice to women of her time.
Mary Wollstonecraft was a British feminist who – at the time – had strongly radical views. During Mary’s time, women did not have political rights, did not have the right to an education, could lose their property to their husband and be unable to take action within the court, and had limited opportunities for vocations outside of the home resulting in majority of women working domestic roles such as servants and nurses.
It is education that Mary Wollstonecraft focusses her main argument around in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. In the introductory paragraph, Wollstonecraft states, “if she [women] not be prepared by education to become the companion of man, she will stop the progress of knowledge and virtue”. If both women and men are educated, they are able to work together in order to further educate their children. Wollstonecraft argues that “if children are to be educated to understand the true principle of patriotism, their mother must be a patriot; and the love of mankind, from which an orderly train of virtues spring, can only be produced by considering the moral and civil interest of mankind” and that “the education and situation of woman, at present, shuts her out from such investigations.” If women do not have the knowledge and understanding to pass this information down to her children the children will not receive the entire extent of the knowledge and virtues, whereas, if both women and men have this interest and knowledge, they can work together in order to share this knowledge from different understandings and perspectives.
It is from this that I believe that Mary Wollstonecraft’s best advice to women of her time is to seek out education and understanding and use this knowledge to not only grower wiser, but to also help ensure that this knowledge is passed down to their children and future generations.
Greenblatt, Stephen, and M. H Abrams. The Norton Anthology Of English Literature. 9th ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012. Print.