In the spirit of Women's Equality Day, (selected to commemorate the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote.) Cosimo's Classic of the Month is A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft as our Classic of the Month.
This 1792 book is one of the earliest works of protofeminist thought and is the first published argument advocating for the societal elevation of women as the intellectual and emotional equals of men. Written during the time of the French Revolution, this revolutionary book reacts against the French Diplomat's, Charles Maurice's, statement that women should be educated only in domestic matters.
Well received in its day and still an important resource for anyone wishing to understand the history of feminism, this extended essay demolishes the sexual double standard of the day, offers a rational defense for the education of girls, and demands merely that women be treated as people.
A Vindication of the Rights of Women is available in hardcover and paperback at leading online bookstores, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
About the Author:
Mary Wollstonecraft was an eighteenth-century British writer, philosopher, and advocate of women's rights. During her brief career, she wrote novels, treatises, a travel narrative, a history of the French Revolution, a conduct book, and a children's book. Wollstonecraft is best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), in which she argues that women are not naturally inferior to men, but appear to be only because they lack education. She suggests that both men and women should be treated as rational beings and imagines a social order founded on reason.