This was why there has been no substantial tradition of women writers. Woolf pays tribute to the women writers of the past, who had to surmount infinite obstacles and insults, and who, in doing so, made the way so much smoother for the women writers who came after them.
Woolf acknowledges that things are changing, and that even more significant changes are in the offing. However, influential men like Mr Oscar Browning still make pronouncements such as "the best woman [is] intellectually the inferior of the worst man." She shrewdly analyzes such remarks to be the consequence of man's insecurity when challenged by modern woman's demands for 'equality.' Woolf herself subscribes to a more balanced point of view, expressed in the last section of the book:
All this pitting of sex against sex . . . all this claiming of superiority and imputing of inferiority, belong to the private-school stage of human existence where there are 'sides', and it is necessary for one side to beat another side . . .. As people mature they cease to believe in sides . . .
Men and women as individuals can attain heights of creative achievement only when the masculine and the feminine parts of their personality are in harmony, as was the case with Shakespeare. ...