The Enlightenment also known as “Age of reason” was an era where intelligence was considered rebellious, it was the start of an age of realistic thinking and when new values were created. In this time philosophers challenged authority`s and institutions to reduce prejudice and implemented better human rights and equality for all1. Mary Wollstonecraft’s book A Vindication of the Rights of Women demonstrates that in the Eighteenth Century logic and reasoning was becoming the voice of the society. Which allowed the great thinkers of that time to pave the way for toleration. This can be illustrated through, the society being held back in that era due to prejudice, equality for men vs women, and human rights for its people.
Mary Wollstonecraft was instrumental in the Women’s movement and contributed greatly to the Enlightenment for the outlook on women and educating children. Mary was born on April 27, 1759 in London England and died on September 10, 17972. She was an English Writer and also the first feminists. In the Eighteenth century women were not considered as intelligent as men. Her book A Vindication of the Rights of Women was published in 1792, and was an example of feminist philosophy3. In a response to A Vindication of the Rights of Man she argued woman’s rights, that women were equal and had the ability to be equal given they received the right resources. Wollstonecraft also argued that women were capable of rational thinking, and could be a partner and companion rather than a servant and source of pleasure to their husbands4. Wollstonecraft argued that through education, the traditional treatment and views of women could be changed by educating females the same as males. This would change women's position in society and benefit everyone.
In the Enlightenment prejudice was a norm, which caused the society to be held back. “In order to understand why we are the way we are, we need to go back and ask certain questions to pull out prejudices5.” Prejudices continued to influence how different groups of people lived especially women who were oppressed and restricted to what was allowed and accepted6. Women were only subjected to be mothers, daughters or wives. As a result they were looked at as being inferior to men and were insignificant for all reasons other than providing pleasure for men7. Traditional thinking reinforced that women are weak and should not be educated because it was a waste of time. In A Vindication of the Rights of Women, Mary Wollstonecraft argued that it would be a benefit to all if women and girls could be educated the same way as the boys. In one of the argument she states that if women were to be educated they can become companions8. During that era change was frowned upon, anyone who questioned the authority would be ridiculed and isolated9. Writers, and philosophers like Wollstonecraft were inspiring changes, in return the attitudes of people were starting to change. Using logic and reason, opportunities were arising and causing a revolution in the society. Women like Wollstonecraft began to take advantage of new trends, like hosting a “salon” as a way to put their ideas and their intellect into the ears of men and leaders. By hosting these salons, people started to notice and hear the voices of women and their ideas which triggered society to think and start the changes. By eliminating the prejudices the goal of liberating and transforming society could be reached and doors opened to change. Attitudes towards women started to gradually change for the better and the idea that prejudices restrict growth allow change to take shape and allowed egalitarianism.
Men and women should be considered equal “The minds of women are no different than the minds of men”10. During the Enlightenment period when thinking for your self was not welcomed and discouraged, this issue needed to be addressed. Attaining equality was similar to the first step of noticing there was