When the ideas of equality in Western Europe, specifically in France and England, are discussed, one thinks of the disparity of wealth between the aristocrats, the bourgeoisie, and the peasant classes. However the subject of equality comes specifically out of a male dominated society.
In France during the 1790’s Women were treated as inferior to men in all respects, both physically and mentally. They were not represented equally politically, and had practically no voice in the changes that were coming to France at that time.
During the Same period the wife of an aristocrat in England Marry Wollstonecraft, was able to take advantage of the education that her status provided, and wrote about the plight of women during the period. Wollstonecraft commented on both the sexism and the belief of most men during the period that women were simply social objects. Wollstonecraft’s writings were ahead of her time. She could be considered to be one of the first Western European women’s rights activists. In her writing she specifically describes how men would never ask the opinion of women on any subjects having to do with social or political issues. She also describes how many men treated women like objects, or as a delicate thing that may break if it was handled poorly. Wollstonecraft’s argument is that women should be included in the workings of western society. She cited the fact that women are never consulted, and therefore are not able to influence their surroundings, and therefore are at the mercy of men.
Wollstonecraft’s writings were heavily influenced by the events of the French Revolution, and the fact that women, especially peasant women bore the brunt of many atrocities that the revolution produced. Wollstonecraft was ahead of her time in the way that she argued for increased representation of women in the political realms of her time.