Mary Wollstonecraft and the Women's Movement

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Mary Wollstonecraft and the Women's Movement

1. Introduction
2. Mary Wollstonecraft – her life, views and works
3. Position of woman in society in 18th century
a) Women's movement
b) Changes in society after 18th century
4. Mary Wollstonecraft – her impact on future writers
5. Conclusion
6. References

1. Introduction

In this work I would like to present very important personality from the eighteenth century, feminist and writer who had huge impact on the growth of the importance of the women's right – Mary Wollstonecraft. She is consider as an advocate of women's rights, as a precursor of the feminist movement. Her best known work is The Vindication of the Rights of Woman, but she wrote also other publications which support human natural rights. Mary is very important figure in the eighteenth century, but her influence is also seen very well in later times, due to people like her the role of woman increased through the following years. I want also present the position of woman in society at this time and changes which had place through the eighteenth century. The importance of woman from almost zero was increasing through the time, but my aim is to present how was it in the this particular century. As the following women started fighting about their rights and more and more people started care about that. Plenty of writers were defending the rights of woman and it was also their purpose to make their lives better and easier. Women did not want to have more power over the men, they were fighting about having equal rights and being treated as human beings not as a slaves or objects. During this hard period for women, they started creating a movements, which can be called nowadays feminist movements, but in the eighteenth century this word did not exist. It all started in late eighteenth century and was continued also over the next centuries. Next I would like to present the writers and followers of Mary Wollstonecraft's ideas and also comment on her purpose, did she accomplished what she was going to achieve. There was a great deal of people who agreed with Wollstonecraft in her position and claims, they took an example of her and her works but as well as of her personal life. I would like to present some of these authors which took the inspiration from Wollstonecraft's publications and wrote on the same subject commenting on her writing and following her ideas At the end of the assignment I want to conclude and compare the changing of the society and Mary Wollstonecraft's impact on the process of changing of the rights of women and people's efforts about them.

2. Mary Wollstonecraft

Feminist writer and intellectual Mary Wollstonecraft was born in Spitalfields in London on April 27, 1759. She was the second child in the numerous family, having older brother and five younger siblings. Mary did not have any proper education, only her brother Edward, was to receive a formal education, after all he became a lawyer. Her paternal grandfather was a successful master weaver who left a sizeable legacy, but her father, Edward John, mismanaged his share of the inheritance. He was abusive and spent his fortune on a series of unsuccessful ventures in farming. The family was in financially poor condition. Her father was also aggressive man and alcoholic, because of what he became violent towards his wife. Mary needed to find some way of gaining money. In 1778 she was engaged as a companion to a Mrs Dawson and lived at Bath. She returned home to nurse her mother in the latter part of 1781. After this event Wollstonecraft decided to start her own livelihood. Considering Wollstonecraft's lack of proper education, her gender and poor family background, only occupations she could get was a lady's companion, a schoolteacher, and a governess. Even though she was a young woman, she was intelligent person who had known Bible and some of the writings of Shakespeare and Milton. She owed the ability of reading and writing to...
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