A Vindication of the Rights of Woman


Portrait, Mary Wollstonecraft by John Opie, c. 1797, National Portrait Gallery, London, UK. 

Described as “one of the founding documents of the women's equality movement”, Vindication is a rational appeal for the education of women. Wollstonecraft does not call for the end to marriage or families, but states that "if woman be not prepared by education to become the companion of man, she will stop the progress of knowledge, for truth must be common to all."

When denied a rigorous education, women were prevented from rising to their full  potential as individuals as well as in their role as wives and mothers. Wollstonecraft assures her readers that her intention is not to impose a similar yoke upon men but to bring equilibrium.

“I do not wish women to have power over men, but over themselves.”


Wollstonecraft, Mary. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects. First edition. London: J. Johnson, 1792. Gift of the Friends of the University of Rochester Libraries, 2020.

Additional Resources:
Free versions of the full text of this book, via Project Guttenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3420
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman