We were joined by Bee Rowlatt, author of In search of Mary, to learn all about the mother of feminism Mary Wollstonecraft. So much interesting ground was covered, but here’s a recap of some of the key things we learned about the inspiring and radical Mary Wollstonecraft:
- She wrote the Vindication of the Rights of Man before she wrote Vindication of the Rights of Woman, arguing for human rights, not just women’s rights. Enlightenment theory of perfectibility was central to her argument – that humanity was worth fighting for and that we should always be seeking to improve.
- She campaigned for women’s access to education, set up a school for girls and wrote a book titled Thoughts on the education of daughters.
- She was tragically erased from the history books. Her legacy was tarnished after details of her life that were deemed unacceptable at the time (having a child out of wedlock, attempting suicide, writing with her tone…) were exposed after her death. You can learn about Bee’s campaign to right this wrong and to memorialise Mary Wollstonecraft here.
Despite the advances that have been made since Vindication of the rights of woman was published we’re still fighting for the gender pay gap and women having control of their own bodies – some of the issues that Wollstonecraft originally argued for. There’s certainly scope to return to some of her writing in the current political climate.
If you’d like to learn more about Mary Wollstonecraft or read more of Bee’s witty (and hilarious) book you can order a copy here (through Hive, which is cheaper and much better for authors than Amazon).