Mary Wollstonecraft – English writer, philosopher and women’s rights activist, strongly influenced by Unitarianism and considered ‘the mother of the feminist movement in England’.

Born in Spitalfields, East London, in 1759, Wollstonecraft made a life for herself as a radical writer at a time when women were rarely able to live independently of men.

Among her writings were treatises, novels, travel guides, children’s books and a history of the French Revolution (which she witnessed first hand in Paris). Her most important work was ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Woman’ (1792).

Wollstonecraft was a good friend of Rev. Richard Price, minister of Newington Green Meeting House (NewUnity), a hub for liberal and radical religion and politics. Although she never left the Church of England herself, Wollstonecraft was strongly influenced by Price and other radical Unitarian thinkers in her circle.

She died aged just 38 in 1797 as a result of complications following the birth of her daughter, Mary Shelley, who went on to become a famous novelist and author of ‘Frankenstein’.

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