“Women ought to have representatives, instead of being arbitrarily governed without any direct share allowed them in the deliberations of government”
Mary Wollstonecraft (1759 – 1797).
When I first read the above quote I couldn’t believe the date beneath it, it could well have come from an opinion piece on gender quotas in one of the National newspapers in 2012, rather than an 18th century feminist 250 years ago.
I discovered Mary while researching political dissenters and was instantly intrigued. She was an admirer of the French Revolution, and following Thomas Paine’s ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Men’ in 1790, she shed new light with her own publication, ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Woman‘ in 1792. This is one of the earliest works on feminism and was written in just 6 weeks.
You can access the book here.
So while the Irish Constitutional Convention votes to alter ‘women in home’ clause, much to the jubilation and celebration of politicians and political commentators, after the State was found to be complicit in sending young girls to Magdalene Launderies, excuse me if I don’t get too excited.