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“A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” by Wollstonecraft

The equality of social status of men and women has always been a question of great interest for many sociologists. One of the authors addressing this issue is Mary Wollstonecraft. She is famous for her work A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, in which she argues that women are not inferior to men but appear to be so because of the lack of education (Wollstonecraft, 1792). The author proposes considering both men and women as the essential elements of society representing a social order based on logic.

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Wollstonecraft is against seeing a woman as a useless decoration of society or property that can be acquired through marriage. In Chapter 9, called The pernicious effects of the unnatural distinctions established in society, the author points out that social gender prejudices are destructive for the personal development of both men and women (Wollstonecraft, 1792). The writer emphasizes that women should receive the same rights that men have. However, in this work, Wollstonecraft does not claim absolute gender equality. Wollstonecraft claims that men and women are similar, implying that they are both subject to the same moral laws. The author emphasizes that equality should be reflected with respect to the sanctity of marriage for both partners (Wollstonecraft, 1792). Wollstonecraft empowers men, not women, to bring about the proposed in earlier chapters social and political changes. She states that women lack education. Therefore, they cannot change their position. That’s why men should help them in seeking new opportunities.

Thus, Chapter 9 discusses unjust social standards leading to inequality in human minds. Wollstonecraft highlights the essential role of men in creating equal life opportunities for women. As far as social norms and the moral characteristics of women prevent them from reasonable development, men are the ones to eliminate discrimination. The author does not strive for total gender equality. She emphasizes the role of building equal relationships between partners, which can contribute to the moral development of society, minimizing gender inequality.

Significant changes in Americans’ lives accompanied the period of the book’s creation. One of the important events affecting Americans’ moral values system and self-identification process is the Treaty of Versailles. According to this treaty, Great Britain recognized the Thirteen Colonies as sovereign and independent states and acknowledged America’s right to government, territory, and property (Kritsiotis, 2020). The border was established between the United States and British North America.

Such changes were vital for the development of the nation and future consolidation. The opposing political tendencies, regional interests, cultural heterogeneity, and religious tensions characterizing the nation’s social life were clearly manifested in the debate around the introduction of the necessary powers and principles for organizing the body of the central state administration. Residents of independent states were concerned about whether it was possible to create a single national government compatible with the concept of individual freedom.

Even though the Colonies required the following consolidation and the development of the united states administration, the Treaty of Versailles allowed people to reconsider their social role (Kritsiotis, 2020). As far as colonies were acknowledged as independent, new moral values were established. Colonists realized that they were not subjects to the British Empire. Through the American Revolutionary War, colonists defended their rights and freedoms for independence (Cole, 2022). As a result, people’s self-identification also gained more independent status. By acquiring the opportunity for rapid economic development and industrial growth, the American nation strengthened the institution of private property formation. As all colonists considered themselves members of independent states, their moral values were also modified. The American Declaration of Independence was also of great importance. It embodied many of the ideas of the Enlightenment. Mentioned historical events empowered the discussion about equality, referring to the idea t Gender Inequality hat all men were created equal.


Cole, J. (2022). Captives of liberty: Prisoners of war and the politics of vengeance in the American Revolution. Cambridge University Press.

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Kritsiotis, D. (2020). Fourteen ways of looking back at the Treaty of Versailles. London Review of International Law, 8(1), 43–88. Web.

Wollstonecraft, M. (1792). Chapter 9: The pernicious effects of the unnatural distinctions established in society. In A vindication of the rights of woman with strictures on political and moral subjects. Jonathan Bennett.

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