Mary Wollstonecraft

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Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft was a Feminist writer during the French Revolution. In 1784, with her sister Eliza and friend Fanny, Mary started a school in Newington Green. From her teaching experiences, she wrote a pamphlet in 1787 entitled Thoughts on the Education of Daughters. In 1785, Wollstonecraft took a position as governess for the Kingsborough family in Ireland after Fanny died. She returned to London in 1788 and became a translator and adviser to Joseph Johnson, who published radical texts. In 1792, Mary published her most famous work, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, which became the basis of feminism and women's rights movements worldwide. Mary died in 1797 just 10 days after giving birth to her daughter, Mary Shelley, who would go on to write Frankenstein.


Wollstonecraft's works were more famous at the time of publication, but today she is most noted for scandals, as she had an affair with a married man. However, she is still noted as the leader and 'creator' of the feminist ideals. The world today still has feminists, so Wollstonecraft's basic ideas are still at play.

Wollstonecraft's most famous work, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, stated that women have business outside of the household aside from cooking, caring for children, and so on. She said that society breeds "gentle domestic brutes" which makes women frustrated and transforms them into tyrants over their children and servants. She also insisted that women should be educated. This made her the first women's activist and sparked ideas that revolved around feminism, giving her the name "the first feminist." Her ideas would be the basis of fights for women's rights everywhere.

Lasting Impact


"Mary Wollstonecraft." A'E Networks Television. Web. 4 Nov. 2014.Johnson Lewis, Jone. "Mary Wollstonecraft, Mother of Feminism and Enlightenment Thinker." About. Web. 3 Nov. 2014.

Mary Wollstonecraft


Impact on Life Today

Video- 3:25-4:40

Wollstonecraft has been called the "first feminist" or the "mother of feminism." Her ideas about women have influenced many other feminists' ideals.


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