Born OTD in 1759, English writer, philosopher, and advocate of women’s rights, Mary Wollstonecraft. Until the late 20th century, Wollstonecraft’s life, which encompassed several unconventional personal relationships at the time, received more attention than her writing. Today Wollstonecraft is regarded as one of the founding feminist philosophers, and feminists often cite both her life and her works as important influences.

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Wollstonecraft responds to those educational and political theorists of the 18th century who believed that women should not receive a rational education. She argues that women’s education ought to match their position in society, and that they are essential to the nation because they raise its children and could act as respected “companions” to their husbands. Wollstonecraft maintains that women are human beings deserving of the same fundamental rights as men, and that treating them as mere ornaments or property for men undermines the moral foundations of society. Available online.

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