What obstacles to women which Wollstonecraft addresses still exist today?

Wollstonecraft addresses such obstacles to women that still exist today as lack of women's access to higher education in many parts of the world and widespread social indoctrination that puts emphasis on women's sexuality and appearance rather than their intellect and integrity.

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Although many women's situations have changed radically since Wollstonecraft's time, some of the themes she addresses are still relevant to women today.

Wollstonecraft wrote her book to push back against popular writers of her day, such as Rousseau, who argued that women did not need the same "rational" education as men. By "rational" education, men like Rousseau meant being taught critical thinking skills and being exposed to the best and highest forms of reasoning by studying figures such as Aristotle and other philosophers. Instead, men like Rousseau argued, women were best served by being taught to sew, cook, and run a household.

Wollstonecraft argued forcefully that women needed to be rationally educated to be good helpmeets and companions to their husbands, as well as to be good mothers to their children and good managers of their servants. She deplored a world in which women were educated to concentrate on their looks and to be silly, petty, and vain in order to catch a husband.

In many countries today, women have the same opportunity to receive a rational or higher education as do men. However, in other parts of the world, women are still disadvantaged in access to education, and many are still married off very early, before they have had a chance to complete their educations. This can true as well among some religious groups in the United States and other wealthy nations.

Further, in a more widespread way, women around the globe are often educated through advertising and cultural norms to concentrate in counterproductive ways on their looks and sexuality to attract men rather than becoming fully productive members of society.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
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