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10 Inspiring Mary Wollstonecraft Quotes to Empower Women and Challenge the Status Quo

Explore the profound wisdom of Mary Wollstonecraft through her inspiring quotes. Discover her powerful words on feminism, women's rights, and her role as an Enlightenment philosopher.
by The Blinkist Team | Nov 13 2023

Mary Wollstonecraft, a prominent figure in the 18th-century feminist movement, made a lasting impact with her groundbreaking book “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.” Published in 1792, Wollstonecraft’s work challenged the prevailing societal norms and argued for the equal rights and education of women. Today, her book remains relevant as it continues to inspire and empower individuals in the ongoing fight for gender equality.


Mary Wollstonecraft, a prominent figure in the feminist movement, was a trailblazer who fought tirelessly for women’s rights and equality. Her powerful words continue to inspire and empower women to challenge the status quo and strive for a more just and inclusive society. In this article, we have compiled 10 of Mary Wollstonecraft’s most inspiring quotes that will ignite your passion, boost your confidence, and encourage you to break free from societal constraints. These quotes serve as a reminder that women have the power to shape their own destinies and create a world where gender equality is the norm. So, get ready to be inspired and join us on this journey of empowerment and change.

10 Inspiring Mary Wollstonecraft Quotes to Empower Women

The absurd duty, too often inculcated, of obeying a parent only on account of his being a parent, shackles the mind, and prepares it for a slavish submission to any power but reason.

Mary Wollstonecraft

This line emphasizes the importance of questioning blind obedience and authority. It challenges the notion that simply being a parent grants someone unquestionable power and control over their children. By highlighting the negative consequences of blindly following parental authority, the quote encourages individuals to think critically and prioritize reason over blind submission. It calls for the liberation of the mind from the shackles of societal expectations and encourages individuals to prioritize rationality and independent thinking.

The mind will ever be unstable that has only prejudices to rest on, and the current will run with destructive fury when there are no barriers to break its force.

Mary Wollstonecraft

This quote emphasizes the detrimental effects of relying solely on prejudices and preconceived notions as the foundation for our thoughts and beliefs. It suggests that a mind that is built upon biases and lacks critical thinking will always be unstable and prone to destructive behavior. Without the presence of barriers or opposing viewpoints to challenge and temper our thoughts, our minds can become consumed by a relentless and destructive force. This quote serves as a reminder of the importance of open-mindedness, critical thinking, and the necessity of diverse perspectives to maintain balance and stability in our thoughts and actions.

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

This quote highlights the importance of treating women as equals and recognizing their capabilities and intelligence. It challenges the societal norms of the time that often portrayed women as delicate and dependent beings. The quote encourages a shift in perspective, urging society to view women as rational individuals who are capable of standing on their own and making their own decisions. It advocates for gender equality and the empowerment of women, emphasizing the need to break free from the condescending and patronizing attitudes towards them.

The mind will ever be unstable that has only prejudices to rest on.

Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft offers a thought-provoking insight into the importance of critical thinking and open-mindedness. This quote suggests that relying solely on preconceived notions and biases can lead to an unstable and limited mindset. Wollstonecraft encourages us to challenge our own beliefs and seek out diverse perspectives in order to cultivate a more stable and informed understanding of the world. By recognizing the limitations of prejudices, we can strive for intellectual growth and embrace a more balanced and adaptable approach to life.

And this homage to women’s attractions has distorted their understanding tosuch an extent that almost all the civilized women of the present century are anxious only to inspire love, when they ought to have the nobler aim of getting respect for their abilities and virtues.

Mary Wollstonecraft

This quote reminds us of the societal expectations placed on women and the importance of valuing their abilities and virtues. It suggests that the emphasis on women’s attractiveness has distorted their understanding of their own worth and potential. Instead of striving for respect based on their abilities and virtues, many women in the present century are solely focused on inspiring love. This quote highlights the need for a shift in perspective, encouraging women to prioritize their talents, skills, and virtues in order to gain the respect they deserve.

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

This quote highlights the idea of challenging traditional beliefs and questioning authority. It draws a parallel between the divine right of husbands and the divine right of kings, suggesting that both should be subject to scrutiny and debate. In this enlightened age, the quote implies that it is safe to contest and challenge these established norms without fear of repercussion. It encourages individuals to question and challenge societal expectations and norms, promoting progress and equality in relationships and society as a whole.

Men and women must be educated, in a great degree, by the opinions and manners of the society they live in.

Mary Wollstonecraft

Once again, Mary Wollstonecraft sheds light on the importance of education and societal influence in shaping individuals. This quote emphasizes the significant role that society plays in the education and development of both men and women. It suggests that our beliefs, values, and behaviors are largely influenced by the opinions and customs of the society we inhabit. Wollstonecraft highlights the need for a comprehensive and inclusive education system that fosters critical thinking and challenges societal norms. By recognizing the power of societal influence, she calls for a collective effort to create a more equitable and progressive society.

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

Mary Wollstonecraft

This quote, from Mary Wollstonecraft’s book “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman,” sheds light on the societal degradation of women. Wollstonecraft argues that women are demeaned by the superficial and condescending attention they receive from men, which only serves to reinforce male superiority. She challenges the notion that these trivial attentions are a sign of respect or admiration, asserting that they actually perpetuate inequality. This quote serves as a powerful reminder of the need for gender equality and the importance of recognizing and challenging societal norms that degrade women.

No man chooses evil because it’s evil. He only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.

Mary Wollstonecraft

This line emphasizes the importance of understanding the motivations behind people’s actions. It suggests that individuals do not intentionally choose to do evil, but rather, they mistake it for happiness or the good they are seeking. This quote encourages us to have empathy and compassion, recognizing that people may make misguided choices in their pursuit of happiness. It reminds us to consider the underlying intentions and desires of others, rather than simply labeling them as evil.

It is justice, not charity, that is wanting in the world.

Mary Wollstonecraft

This quote emphasizes the need for justice rather than mere acts of charity in our world. It suggests that true change and equality can only be achieved through a fair and just system, rather than relying solely on acts of kindness or generosity. The quote challenges us to address the root causes of injustice and work towards creating a more equitable society where everyone is treated fairly and with dignity. It reminds us that true progress requires a commitment to justice and a willingness to challenge and change the systems that perpetuate inequality.

In conclusion, Mary Wollstonecraft’s quotes serve as a powerful reminder that the fight for women’s rights and equality is ongoing. Her words ignite a fire within us to challenge societal norms and strive for a more just and inclusive world. As we draw inspiration from her, let us remember that each one of us has the power to make a difference and create a better future for ourselves and generations to come. So, let these empowering quotes be a catalyst for change as we continue to break down barriers and work towards a more equal and inclusive society. Together, we can create a world where all individuals, regardless of their gender, can thrive and reach their fullest potential.


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