A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

by Mary Wollstonecraft

Wollstonecraft put the rights of women in the context of social optimism; she argues that the minds of women are no different from the minds of men, but that men and women differ only in their bodies. As a result, she affirms universal human rights--females are in all the most important aspects the same as males, possessing the same souls, the same mental capacities and thus the same human rights. Therefore, she argues that a system based on one's sex's dependence is demeaning to everyone


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