41 Empowering Mary Wollstonecraft to Inspire Action

Mary Wollstonecraft Quotes

Hugely empowering and to the point, Mary Wollstonecraft quotes will spur you on to fight for women’s rights, because the passion and dedication to her cause are so infectious. Imploring women to be the strong, learned, and independent people she knew they could be, she was passionate about equality between the genders, and that absolute belief will rub off on you, too.

Best known for her trailblazing book ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Woman’, Mary Wollstonecraft was a passionate advocate for women’s rights to education; an argument that played out in the book which was published in 1792. While other feminists from the era also campaigned for change to the education system, it was Mary who suggested that a system that offered equal opportunities for girls and boys would benefit society as a whole, by allowing girls to become both great wives and mothers, and also great workers as well.

While ‘A Vindication of the Rights of a Woman’ made waves in the 1790s, it failed to bring about any kind of real reform, but it enjoyed a second revival in the 1840s and beyond when feminists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Margaret Fuller took on board some of the book’s points and principles. Sadly, Mary died at the age of just 41 before she saw the influence that her book – which was one of several that she wrote – would have on women’s rights, but her legacy lives on as feminism is still growing today.

Mary Wollstonecraft Quotes




“Friendship is a serious affection; the most sublime of all affections, because it is founded on principle, and cemented by time.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“I earnestly wish to point out in what true dignity and human happiness consists.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“Errors are often useful, but it is commonly to remedy other errors.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“Friendship and domestic happiness are continually praised; yet how little is there of either in the world, because it requires more cultivation of mind to keep awake affection, even in our own hearts, than the common run of people suppose.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“The power of generalizing ideas, of drawing comprehensive conclusions from individual observations, is the only acquirement, for an immortal being, that really deserves the name of knowledge.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“My own sex, I hope, will excuse me, if I treat them like rational creatures, instead of flattering their fascinating graces, and viewing them as if they were in a state of perpetual childhood, unable to stand alone.” – Mary Wollstonecraft




“A little patience and all will be over.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“From the respect paid to property flow, as from a poisoned fountain, most of the evils and vices which render this world such a dreary scene to the contemplative mind.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft Quotes

“Women ought to have representatives, instead of being arbitrarily governed without any direct share allowed them in the deliberations of government.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“The mind will ever be unstable that has only prejudices to rest on.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“It is justice, not charity, that is wanting in the world.” – Mary Wollstonecraft




“Love, the common passion, in which chance and sensation take place of choice and reason, is in some degree, felt by the mass of mankind; for it is not necessary to speak, at present, of the emotions that rise above or sink below love.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“Women are systematically degraded by receiving the trivial attentions which men think it manly to pay to their sex, when, in fact, men are insultingly supporting their own superiority.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“Virtue can only flourish among equals.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“I never wanted but your heart–that gone, you have nothing more to give.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“I do not wish them [women] to have power over men, but over themselves.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft Quotes

“All the sacred rights of humanity are violated by insisting on blind obedience.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“The divine right of husbands, like the divine right of kings, may, it is hoped, in this enlightened age, be contested without danger.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“Only by the jostlings of equality can we form a just opinion of ourselves.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“The being who patiently endures injustice, and silently bears insults, will soon become unjust, or unable to discern right from wrong.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“Only that education deserves emphatically to be termed cultivation of the mind which teaches young people how to begin to think.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“Like the flowers that are planted in too rich a soil, strength and usefulness are sacrificed to beauty.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“I like to see your eyes praise me and, during such recitals, there are interruptions, not ungrateful to the heart, when the honey that drops from the lips is not merely words.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“It is vain to expect virtue from women till they are in some degree independent of men.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“Love from its very nature must be transitory. To seek for a secret that would render it constant would be as wild a search as for the philosopher’s stone or the grand panacea: and the discovery would be equally useless, or rather pernicious to mankind. The most holy band of society is friendship.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“Taught from infancy that beauty is woman’s sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“Independence I have long considered as the grand blessing of life, the basis of every virtue; and independence I will ever secure by contracting my wants, though I were to live on a barren heath.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“They may be convenient slaves, but slavery will have its constant effect, degrading the master and the abject dependent.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“Make women rational creatures, and free citizens, and they will quickly become good wives; – that is, if men do not neglect the duties of husbands and fathers.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“Surely something resides in this heart that is not perishable – and life is more than a dream.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“Parental affection is, perhaps, the blindest modification of perverse self-love.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“Simplicity and sincerity generally go hand in hand, as both proceed from a love of truth.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“It appears necessary to go back to first principles in search of the most simple truths, and to dispute with some prevailing prejudice every inch of ground.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“Let their faculties have room to unfold, and their virtues to gain strength, and then determine where the whole sex must stand in the intellectual scale.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“It is time to effect a revolution in female manners – time to restore to them their lost dignity – and make them, as a part of the human species, labour by reforming themselves to reform the world. It is time to separate unchangeable morals from local manners.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“It is far better to be often deceived than never to trust; to be disappointed in love, than never to love.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“The beginning is always today.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“Into this error men have, probably, been led by viewing education in a false light; not considering it as the first step to form a being advancing gradually towards perfection, but only as a preparation for life.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“True sensibility, the sensibility which is the auxiliary of virtue, and the soul of genius, is in society so occupied with the feelings of others, as scarcely to regard its own sensations.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

“And having no fear of the devil before my eyes, I venture to call this a suggestion of reason, instead of resting my weakness on the broad shoulders of the first seducer of my frail sex.” – Mary Wollstonecraft

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