Sample Literature Review Paper on Vindication of the Rights of Woman


Undeniably, Mary Wollstonecraft’s literature text is relevant today as it was in 1792
when she addressed the suppression of the rights of women. Her criticism of the societal customs
and women education and children was groundbreaking during that period and is still influential
in this 21st century. Mary’s text focuses on identifying factors that influenced the changes and
belief of the modern English society. It highlights the historical contexts since the ancient period
to the 18th century by pointing out that the society apprehended women as lesser beings, against
the dominant position of men (Wollstonecraft 30-40). Today, the rights of women are still
suppressed, and Mary Wollstonecraft would still emphasize the need for upholding their rights in
the society. The paper will commence by reflecting on Mary Wollstonecraft’s vindication of the
rights of woman in the 21st century and the changes needed in redefining the role and status of
women in the society.

The ‘Vindication of the Rights of Woman’ is perceived by many people as the
commencement of the rejuvenation of female education. Nevertheless, it should be seen as the
quest for freedom. Most people were reluctant to offer credibility to Mary’s ideology about
women because they thought that her texts were driven by ulterior objectives of trying to upend

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the position of women in the society. The society maintained that no rational woman would be
denied her rightful status in the society unless she had dubious morals (Claudia 1-2). Similar
criticism has also saturated the contemporary women movements that women are not pursuing
equality for pure reasons, but, instead, they have a hidden motive triggered by anger and envy.
Since the formation, development, and continuance of female movement, women have been
insensitively condemned and dismissed by many people including writers. However, the essence
of feminism movements is to promote a society that is based on radical love and equality rather
than patriarchy and domination. During the early 60s’ and 70s’, the society, particularly women
embraced the ideas of Wollstonecraft. Most of her ideas established the theoretical basis for this
radical movement in the 20th century (Chris 40-48).

She emphasized on various issues including, equality, moral enhancement, liberty
responsiveness, reason, and duty. Her text was both theoretical and programmatic which
probably makes it applicable today. The critical point emphasized by Wollstonecraft was women
illiteracy which is still prevalent today. The society needs to renew the perception of women by
allowing them to access education similar to their male counterparts. Mis-education of women is
one area that requires a total transition. Wollstonecraft believed that men had conspired to
establish an education system that would degrade women by considering them as inferior and
irrational (Wollstonecraft 60-70). Today, most of the society is yet to acknowledge the potential
of women and this ought to change. As suggested by Wollstonecraft, women require being
educated differently. Education, as reckoned by Wollstonecraft, is the most imperative aspect
that can trigger social change. According to Wollstonecraft, if the rules and norms maintained
by the society hold women in subjection to their male counterparts, the world suffers as a

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Women were required to acknowledge temporal and inconsequential things, for instance,
beauty and being modest (Wollstonecraft 170-180). Again, this is a perception that ought to
change in this 21st century. Rather than focusing on such unrewarding efforts, women should
nurture their minds to become strong and liberated. Together with that, children would become
successful when women are allowed proper access to education. Indeed, Wollstonecraft alleges
that women that are properly education stand a better position of educating their children more
comprehensively because they would value respectable things. As such, Wollstonecraft’s
ideologies are applicable today and critique the contemporary society for nurturing the values of
dominance rather than promoting education and liberty to everyone. Of all her criticisms,
Wollstonecraft alleges that the society taught women about modesty, in that, they were only
taught about the vices to evade. However, they were prohibited from nurturing the values that
contradicted with the vices. They learned about submission and seeking security rather than
promoting kindness and self-control. As aforementioned, the education system was deceptive
and imperfect since it only examined one aspect. As such, the system was unfair, and
Wollstonecraft emphasized on the establishment of a system that focused on equal opportunity
and rationality. Indeed, life comprises of virtues, and everyone should be given the opportunity
of pursuing a life that will enhance their well-being in the society. The society holds both male
and female morally responsible and, therefore, the two genders should function as moral agents.
Women should be given an equal opportunity of participating in the same institutions and
physical activities as their male counterparts Wollstonecraft 170-180).


In her text, “A Vindication of the rights of woman” Mary Wollstonecraft has addressed
the plight of women in a society that is dominated by male. She has acknowledged the

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challenges experienced by women in their efforts of seeking quality education. Nevertheless, the
society has thwarted women’s efforts by miseducating them. Rather than nurturing the values of
equality and rationality, the society emphasized on trivial issues, such as, beauty,
submissiveness, and coyness. Today, there is need to renew the education system by allowing
women to access education that would enable them to better their lives and their children.

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Works Cited

Claudia L. Johnson, “Introduction,” The Cambridge Companion to Mary Wollstonecraft
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 1-2
Chris Jones, “Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindications and their Political Tradition,” The Cambridge
Companion to Mary Wollstonecraft, 48
Wollstonecraft, Mary. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Boston: Thomas and