Episodes 8 & 9: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, by Mary Wollstonecraft

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

“Taught from infancy that beauty is woman’s sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body…

Mary Wollstonecraft

The Book

 In [A Vindication of the Rights of Woman], Wollstonecraft responds to those educational and political theorists of the 18th century who believed that women should not receive a rational education. She argues that women’s education ought to match their position in society, and that they are essential to the nation because they raise its children and could act as respected “companions” to their husbands.

Wollstonecraft maintains that women are human beings deserving of the same fundamental rights as men, and that treating them as mere ornaments or property for men undercuts the moral foundation of society.


The Author

Mary Wollstonecraft was a moral and political philosopher whose analysis of the condition of women in modern society retains much of its original radicalism…

Her first publication was on the education of daughters; she went on to write about politics, history and various aspects of philosophy in a number of different genres that included critical reviews, translations, pamphlets, and novels.

Best known for her Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), her influence went beyond the substantial contribution to feminism for which she is mostly remembered and extended to shaping the art of travel writing as a literary genre; through her account of her journey through Scandinavia as well as her writings on women and thoughts on the imagination, she had an impact on the Romantic movement.

-Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Our Guest: Dr. Meagan Cahoon Alder

Dr. Meagan Cahoon Alder is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is in private practice and works primarily with couples. She studied psychology in undergrad and went on to receive a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2005. Ten years later, she went back to school and got a PhD, specializing in trauma and couple relationships. She is married to her best friend and they have three children together. Her mother, who is battling cancer, lives with them and together this three generation household keeps her on her toes. When she is not working or family-ing, she would ideally be watching live musical theater.


Amy’s Takeaways

This book absolutely blew my mind – I read it three times. Overlaps a little with Eisler, but goes way deeper and travels farther forward in history. This book Just the other day someone told me that there were fewer women in STEM fields because women’s brains can’t do Math. I replied, “Well, Mary Wollstonecraft says, ‘It cannot be demonstrated that woman is essentially inferior to man, because she has always been subjugated.” Wollstonecraft’s book is full of useful sound bites on relevant topics including nature vs. nurture, reason vs. emotion, and the role of beauty. And discussing these issues with razor-witted marriage and family therapist Meagan Cahoon Alder made the discussion especially rich.

Listen to the Episodes

Ep 8 / Ep 9


Share your Comments with us below!

Explore More Content