The social revolution for women's rights has made great progress in recent years. But how many casual observers - or advocates, for that matter - are aware that the roots of this movement extend deep into Western history?
Even before launching the great campaign to attain universal suffrage, strong female voices spoke in favor of the social, political, educational, and economic rights of women. A Vindication of the Rights of Women, published in the late eighteenth century, is truly a classic in this venerable tradition. Railing against the stubborn social forces that confined women to an inferior station in the community, Mary Wollstonecraft declares war on the prevailing attitudes and customs that prevent women from realizing their individual potential.
"She is alive and active--we hear her voice and trace her influence even now."
Mary Wollstonecraft (1759 - 97) was an educationalist and feminist writer. Part of the radical set that included Blake and Fuseli, her relationship with William Godwin and the birth of their child - Mary Shelley - outside of marraige caused great scandal after her death. Miriam Brody is a professor in the Writing Program at Ithaca College, New York. Her most recent writing on Mary Wollstonecraft appears in Feminist Interpretations of Mary Wollstonecraft (1996).