One might not remember a time when women did not have a say in the world. Women today have the right to vote, join the army, and get any job they want, all because of Mary Wollstonecraft and other worldly known feminists. Throughout her life, Mary Wollstonecraft advocated for women’s rights during a time when women were not viewed as equals. Her early life was very influential in her career as a writer and feminist, as she fought for women’s rights in her many famous works. Mary Wollstonecraft’s impactful career would not have started off the way it did if it were not for her childhood.
Mary Wollstonecraft’s early life affected the rest of her life abundantly. Mary Wollstonecraft was born on April 27, 1759 (Behrman). However, her childhood was difficult because her parents were not happily married. Her father was a failed farmer and was very cruel, would often abuse her. (Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft ). Due to her harsh childhood, it is believed that this may have been where she got her inspiration to be such an impactful writer. Wollstonecraft had two sisters, Eliza, and Evernia. When she was 16, she met her best friend, Fanny Blood, who also impacted Wollstonecraft’s later writings. Wollstonecraft also tried to start a school for women with her sister Eliza and Fanny Blood, but failed (Ray). Then, she wrote Thoughts on the Education of Daughter, in 1787, which was a pamphlet about the unfair education of women (Behrman). She met Gilbert Imlay with whom she had her first child, named Fanny, on May 14, 1795. Imlay was not very interested in Wollstonecraft which lead her to multiple suicide attempts. To try to get away from Wollstonecraft, Imlay sent her on a business trip. After Wollstonecraft went on her trip, she met up with a colleague, William Godwin. While four months pregnant, she ended up marrying Godwin on March 29, 1797. They married even though they were both against getting married. Wollstonecraft’s second daughter was born on August 30, 1797. Her name was Mary Godwin and she later married Percy Bysshe Shelly. She died on September 10, 1797, the same year her daughter was born (Ray). Mary Wollstonecraft’s melancholy, yet important life, was tremendously impacted by her childhood and personal life, which later shows through her writing.
Mary Wollstonecraft was the author of many books and articles which impacted society, more specifically, women. The first book she wrote, Mary: A Fiction in 1788, was her only full storybook. Next, she wrote Vindication of the Rights of Men in response to Edmund Burke who was against feminism (Zook). Her next work was A Vindication of the Rights of Women, which is her most famous work. “She has been called the first major feminist because of this work.” In this book, she discussed women’s education, rank, and many other women’s issues occurring during that time. Lastly, while she was pregnant, she wrote Wrongs of Women (Ray). Wollstonecraft died before she could publish it, so William Godwin, her husband, published it in 1798. These wonderful works may not have impacted the world much during her lifetime, but they have most definitely impacted modern times. Overall Mary Wollstonecraft’s many books were very influential on future feminists and women’s rights activists.
Altogether, one might not know much about Mary Wollstonecraft, but without people like her in the world, women might not have been able to vote, get good jobs, or have access to a good education. Her early life and personal life were very impactful in her writing and feminist career. She was known for publishing many famous books and works to advocate for women’s rights. Women did not always have a say in the world, but now they do, thanks to Mary Wollstonecraft.