Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” as Want to Read:
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  10,971 Ratings  ·  320 Reviews
In an era of revolutions demanding greater liberties for mankind, Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) was an ardent feminist who spoke eloquently for countless women of her time.
Having witnessed firsthand the devastating results of male improvidence, she assumed an independent role early in life, educating herself and eventually earning a living as a governess, teacher and wri
Paperback, 208 pages
Published July 3rd 1996 by Dover Publications (first published 1790)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Cassandra Lê
OH MY GOD , this uncoventional, feminist woman is mother of Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, who was one of my favorite author only after Rowling, Wilde, Plath...etc.?

SHELLEY, you never tell me how cool your mother was!!! . I thought we were best friends.
Ce livre est un pamphlet politique britannique paru en 1792, en réaction aux débats de l'Assemblée Constituante en France quant à l'établissement de l'instruction publique, plus particulièrement un rapport de Talleyrand(view spoiler) de l'année précédente invitant à écarter les femmes à l'accès aux fonctions publiques. Par là on néglige de les instruire, puisque cela serait parfaitement inutile et dispendieux. Mary Wollstonecraft(view spoiler) s'est emparé de ce ...more
Women, I allow, may have different duties to fulfil; but they are human duties, and the principles that should regulate the discharge of them, I sturdily maintain, must be the same.
Sound familiar? The quote I started my review of Beauvoir's The Second Sex with runs in a similarly powerful vein, and is why I am, for the first time, rounding my half star up instead of down. When it comes to this work, one must mercilessly separate the wheat from the chaff if the aim is Wollstonecraft's spir
As convenient as it can sometimes be, a disadvantage of reading from anthologies is that one can graduate from college with the vague notion that one has read a work in its entirety, only to discover later that in fact one has read only a page and a half of it in a long-forgotten Eighteenth-Century British Literature class. Which, as you may have guessed, is exactly what happened to me with Mary Wollstonecraft's seminal 1792 treatise A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. I'm happy to have rectif ...more
I imagine Mary ruffled a few feathers when this book was published in 1792, but she only said what needed to be said. Examples of the suppression of women were many, but Wollstonecraft chronicles the ones that were most important to her and provides an intelligent, common sense analysis of what needed to be done in each instance. One of the most important was education, and her belief that young girls needed and deserved the same type of education that was made available to young men. Progress h ...more
Jun 30, 2009 Helynne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a perceptive and courageous watershed work of feminism--especially for 1792! Mary Wollstonecraft, journalist, novelist, and wife of political philosopher William Godwin, eventually had three children, and died giving birth to the last, Mary Godwin Shelley, who would grow up to marry a famous, radical poet, and herself write Frankenstein and several other novels a generation later. Wollstonecraft, writing in the middle of the French Revolution, albeit in relative safety across the English C ...more
Jan 29, 2016 Nika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The eloquence of early feminists like Wollstonecraft simply delights me! To make her case for the proper education of women, Wollstonecraft asserts that the present state of women derives from acquired habit and learned associations — not from a fault of the innate nature of females — and censures both Milton's inconsistent discussions on the female sex in Paradise Lost as well as Rousseau's condescension of women in his work Émile. There are many instances when she appeals to the propounded val ...more
Oct 19, 2012 Below rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Below by: Laura
Mary Wollstonecraft: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

A brief introduction to a feminist classic.

What is the Vindication?

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (hence the Vindication) is the classic feminist text. It was written in 1792, and it has its roots in the Enlightenment. Broadly, its aim is to apply the ideas of rights and equality to women and not just to men. This article will briefly explore the origins of the work of Wollstonecraft by looking at John Locke and Jean Jacques Roussea
I've read a few feminist texts in the past, but none quite compare to this, which is often deemed as the classic feminist text. Unlike others which can be on the painfully dry and weary side of things, Wollstonecraft's attitude just jumps out at you with every page that you turn of this book. Reading it is like listening to her perform a speech in front of millions, it's so strong and passionate. It really is incredible when you remember that this was published in 1792, I don't think I've read a ...more
I particularly liked the bit where she said if women didn't get a proper education, they might find themselves "dependent on the novelist for amusement."

Sarah Garner
Mar 14, 2016 Sarah Garner rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism
I've had to give up on this one, the language isn't doing my dyslexic brain any good.
I understand her intentions but by chapter 2 I was struggling to understand what she was saying with all the old way of speaking.
Apr 07, 2013 Yasmin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It has been 221 years since A Vindication of the Rights of Woman was published. In that time women have come along way in a fast time, it could be said as much...Women's suffrage movement in the UK began in 1872; the first woman to vote in Britian was 1867;in Ireland the Dublin Women's Suffrage Association was established in 1874; Women in Britian were given the vote in 1918 for women over the age of 30 and had property (which means wives of householders or wives who lived in a rent of over 5 po ...more
Jun 08, 2011 Juanita rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: College students, feminists
Recommended to Juanita by: School
Shelves: older-books
Mary Wollstonecraft was a 16th century mother, teacher, writer, philosopher, feminist, and journalist. She wrote several books and stood out as a rebel in her day. I HAD to read this book because of a college project. But after just the first page I understood why Mary stood out.

She was a brilliant and fearless author. For my class I had to research the ways that women were treated in the 16th century as it related to the bravery of Wollstonecraft. Women HAD to be married in order to entertain
Lara Malik
Es un libro que se me ocurrio leer debido a que este tema esta más que presente en esta época, el feminimo. A pesar de ser un libro corto las primeras 100 hojas se hacen muy difíciles de llevar por la redacción (no por el léxico usado), y las 60 restantes parecen un parpadeo.

Muchos de los tópicos que toca podrían considerarse ya superados, pero increíblemente la mayoría persisten (solo estan cubiertos). Más que nada la parte de la fragilidad y la imagen de la mujer.

Una obra que nos recuerda lo
Mar 28, 2016 Lobo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: akademia
Główna teza tej książki - iż mężczyźni nie stanowią głównego, jedynego czy też w ogóle priorytetu kobiet - wciąż nie została przepracowana przez naszą kulturę.
Jan 27, 2011 Trisha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
At its core Vindication is a response to 18th century theorists (mostly men) who made some very disturbing comments regarding the education, use, and ideal of women. Wollstonecraft writes back to these theorists, both directly addressing their words and positing her own theories. The work is intellectually challenging, thought-provoking, and revolutionary (but best served in small bites).

Vindication, at least in the translation I have, is not an easy read. The diction is downright imposing, gran
Julie Suzanne
I read this during my last quarter as an undergraduate English major. The class was on revolutionary women writers and it was AWESOME. I was more interested and involved in that class than most of my other classes--I kept up a double-entry journal for all of the reading so that I was constantly analyzing and writing down my thoughts. I had a great relationship with the professor and other girls in my class. It was during this class that the big protest in Seattle was going on, and we were all mo ...more
Jan 30, 2011 Dominic rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism
The introductory letter and first couple chapters of A Vindication are practically perfect. Wollstonecraft formulates an argument that has enough fire and logic to take on the misogyny of the time. There is certainly reason that Wollstonecraft is considered one of the great mothers of feminism. And whether this is evidence of Wollstonecraft's brillance or some of the failures of the women's movement, much of what she says is still incredibly relevant. Seriously, I applaud this woman, and I admir ...more
Feisty Harriet
I particularly loved the first half of this book, Wollstonecraft talks about the infantilisation of women, their lack of education, and the societal expectations of sweet and nice and generally weak. She talks about how much damage this does to women AND men, and in general, I want to be her when I grow up. Favorite quote (which may be off a word or three because I was listening to this while driving. "If fear and infantilisim in women were treated with the same abhorrence as cowardice in men, w ...more
C Valeri
Would not recommend for light reading...I am doing a chapter of my thesis on this work so I had to read it but was still blown away by the strength of tone and revolutionary ideas of Mary Wollstonecraft! What a bad-ass ahead of her time.
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
To my knowledge this is the first substantial articulation of the principles of gender equality. A must read for its historical value alone. However it's well-argued and entertaining in its wit and observation as well.
Cris Cambianica
Jan 15, 2015 Cris Cambianica rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
CW racism, white feminism, classism
don't bother
Robert Sheppard

Individual freedom, male or female, has in reality always been the exception rather than the rule, and in the early days of the
 SaЯRah Muhammad
In both the Preface and the Introduction, Wollstonecraft emphasizes what she sees as the root cause of the failure of men to treat women as equals. Men discourage women from achieving the same education that men routinely are given, and as long as women are denied this education, then they can never hope to achieve social and economic parity with men. In her opening remarks to Talleyrand, she is gently optimistic that her powers of persuasion will be sufficient such that he "will not throw my w ...more
Jonathan-David Jackson
In 1792, this was probably a great book. Today, the writing style is almost unreadable. Paragraphs go on forever, with a comma every three words, so that by the time you're at the end of a sentence you've forgotten what it was about at the beginning - it's like reading German. (The author was the mother of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, so that explains some of it.) But if you can struggle through it, it's an interesting perspective on a subject which people still debate today, and things ...more
Rousseau exerts himself to prove that all was right originally: a crowd of authors that all is now right: and I, that all will be right.

This book is culturally chauvinistic as heck (in both a very casual way and in a way that's clearly deliberate) but, man, is it good as an analysis of the way subjugation is taught and perpetuated. Also, as a critique of Rousseau: A++

I really love the vivid, angry prose.
But should it be proved that woman is naturally weaker than man, from whence does it foll
Mika Harjula
There's Something About Mary writing a critical book aiming her discouragement towards the unacceptable consequences, the French revolution brought concerning rights of women. The outcome of the revolution was something that concerned the British government and propagated the matter of human rights issues and democracy for the people. It was clear that women were not to participate due to their lower rank in gender. This was something Wollstonecraft objected to and wrote the Vindication of the R ...more
Feb 12, 2015 Ruby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Obviously some of A Vindication is outdated. Wollstonecraft especially seems to become somewhat more conservative towards the end, when she mainly writes about how to create virtuous mothers and wives - although she does point out that "might certainly" study and practice certain disciplines. Moreover, some arguments are closely linked to religious arguments which are so embedded in Wollstonecraft's very thinking that her reasoning might be hard to follow at times.

But holy cow, this was 1792! A
Lovey d'Orlaque
Aug 04, 2012 Lovey d'Orlaque rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this read. Her writing style reminds me of Shakespeare with all its poetic potency. She speaks of the miseducation of women, but warns against the harmful societal consequence of allowing the miseducation of man or woman. While dated in that women are far more educated now that at the time of writing, there are few barefoot and pregnant...stay at home mothers. Only 14% of women with children under 18 stay at home according to a recent Gallup poll (April 2012). The majority of these pol ...more
Thank you, Wollstonecraft for your courage and voice. Her speech turned essay left me considering how some of the issues she calls humanity to task on are still prescient today. Also, how does one honor her forward thinking? I left the text asking myself, "In what ways do my actions pull at the roots of historic misogyny?"

I believe to truly understand feminism and the early feminist movement this groundbreaking speech/essay is a must read. It gives insight into the structures that continue to tr
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Feminism 1 1 Sep 14, 2016 01:44PM  
500 Great Books B...: A Vindication of the Rights of Women - Mary Wollstonecraft 2 26 Jan 10, 2016 03:58PM  
The F-word: July NON-FICTION Group Read A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN 5 31 Jul 27, 2014 10:36PM  
  • The Subjection of Women
  • Sexual Politics
  • The Essential Feminist Reader
  • The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination
  • The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution
  • The Book of the City of Ladies
  • Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution
  • Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism
  • Feminism: The Essential Historical Writings
  • The Feminine Mystique
  • Fat Is a Feminist Issue
  • Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape
  • Intercourse
  • A Brief History of Misogyny: The World's Oldest Prejudice
  • Listen Up: Voices from the Next Feminist Generation
  • The Female Eunuch
  • Feminism and Pop Culture
  • Daring to Be Bad: Radical Feminism in America, 1967-1975
Mary Wollstonecraft was an eighteenth century British writer, philosopher, and feminist. Among the general public and specifically among feminists, Wollstonecraft's life has received much more attention than her writing because of her unconventional, and often tumultuous, personal relationships. After two ill-fated affairs, with Henry Fuseli and Gilbert Imlay, Wollstonecraft married the philosophe ...more
More about Mary Wollstonecraft...

Share This Book

“I do not wish them [women] to have power over men; but over themselves.” 910 likes
“My own sex, I hope, will excuse me, if I treat them like rational creatures, instead of flattering their fascinating graces, and viewing them as if they were in a state of perpetual childhood, unable to stand alone.” 750 likes
More quotes…