omen’s social status elevated to the point, where women could partake in all aspects of life, while maintaining family life which she did not belittle. The main argument in the Vindication is that current educational and ethical principles on which society is based are utterly erroneous, and instead of enhancing overall development and growth these principles endanger society’s morality.
In her concept of moral behavior, Mary Wollstonecraft embedded the “revolution” in manners and education to ensure that women develop their rationality and intellectual powers, rendering them worthy citizens, entitled to the “inherent rights of mankind” (Wollstonecraft, 175). Through the analogous use of the “Rights of Man,” rhetorically epitomized during the French Revolution, Wollstonecraft demanded that women be freed from “all restraint,” properly educated, and made participants in the “virtuous equality” of a just civilization (Wollstonecraft, 141, 175). The moral system of Wollstonecraft is largely based on the principle of judicial and intellectual equality of men and women, as she points out: “To render also the social compact truly equitable, and in order to spread those enlightening principles, which alone can ameliorate the fate of man, women must be allowed to found their virtue on knowledge, which is scarcely possible unless they be educated by the same pursuits as men” (Wollstonecraft, 173). This statement on equal intellectual opportunities should be understood through the perspective that any woman writing on the improvement of women in the later 18th century inevitably interested a conversation dominated by men, a so called “male-dominated philosophic discourse” (Finke, 20), that obliged her to contend with the discrete and nuanced discourses established by philosophers, political theorists, didactic writers, among others on the subject of women’s role in society. That is the main reason why Mary Wollstonecraft emphasized