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Major thinkers in welfareContemporary issues in historical perspective$
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Vic George

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781847427069

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847427069.001.0001

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Early feminism

Early feminism

Mary Astell (1668–1731), Sophia and Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–97)

(p.107) Six Early feminism
Major thinkers in welfare

Vic George

Policy Press

This chapter looks at the views of Mary Astell and Sophia, before focusing on the work of Mary Wollstonecraft. Mary Astell is known for her work on the impoverished living conditions of working-class women and how this affected other aspects of their lives. Sophia is an anonymous author who assessed that to fight prejudice one needs both a reasoned argument and a counter-ideology. Wollstonecraft is known to be the first theoretical feminist writer, as well as the ‘founder or foremother of Western feminism’. She has also contributed significantly to the feminist cause and feminist theory and is revealed to have borrowed ideas from Locke and Rousseau.

Keywords:   Mary Astell, Sophia, Mary Wollstonecraft, working-class women, living conditions, reasoned argument, counter-ideology, theoretical feminist writer, Western feminism, feminist theory

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