A vindication of the rights of woman

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Title page of the first edition of Rights of Woman

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects , in German Defense of the Rights of Women , is the main work of the writer and suffragette Mary Wollstonecraft . It appeared in 1792 and is considered to be one of the first European feminist writings.

In her work, Mary Wollstonecraft took a position on the educational and political theories in the Enlightenment . They wanted to deny the women an education and training as far as possible. Mary Wollstonecraft argued that women have an equal right to education. This is necessary because, among other things, they bring up children and because they should be partners with their husbands and not just wives. The reason for Mary Wollstonecraft's writing was a publication by Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord from 1791. In it, the latter had taken the view that an education based on housework was sufficient for women.

The book was so well known in England in the early 19th century that William Godwin was able to call the memory of his late wife Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and not mention her name in the title.


Mary Wollstonecraft: A Vindication of the Rights of Man and A Vindication of the Rights of Women . S. Tomaselli (Ed.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1995

Web links

Wikisource: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman  - Sources and full texts (English)


  • A Routledge Literary Sourcebook on Mary Wollstondecraft's "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" . Ed. by Adriana Craciun. London u. New York: Routledge, 2002, ISBN 0-415-22735-6 (hardcover) or ISBN 0-415-22736-4 (paperback).
  • Sparre, Sulamith: Thinking has no gender . Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797), human rights activist. Lich: Edition AV, 2006, ISBN 3-936049-70-X .
  • Taylor, Barbara: Mary Wollstonecraft and the Feminist Imagination . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
  • Priest, Karin : Mary Wollstonecraft, a life for women's rights . Munich: Langen Müller, 2002, ISBN 3-7844-2882-7 .
  • Bock, Gisela : Women in European History . Munich: Beck, 2002, ISBN 3-406-46167-0
  • Todd, Janet: Mary Wollstonecraft. A Revolutionary Life . London: Weidenfels & Nicolson, 2000, ISBN 0-297-84299-4 .
  • Weckel, Ulrike : : equality under scrutiny. On the contemporary reception of pamphlets by Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel and Mary Wollstonecraft in Germany . In: Virtue, Reason and Feeling. Gender discourses of the Enlightenment and female worlds. Münster: Waxmann, 2000, pp. 209–247.
  • Tomalin, Claire: The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft . Revised edition, London: Penguin, 1992, ISBN 0-14-016761-7 .
  • Ferguson, Moira: Mary Wollstonecraft . Boston: Twayne, 1984, ISBN 0-8057-6867-X .
  • Flexner, Eleanor: Mary Wollstonecraft. A biography . New York: Coward, 1972.
  • Wardle, Ralph M .: Mary Wollstonecraft, a critical biography . Lincoln, Neb .: Univ. Pr., 1967.