Convinced that the subordination of women is an irrational and outmoded social custom with no grounds for continuation, active women's rights campaigner John Stuart Mill sets about arguing for equality between the sexes. This 1869 essay is striking in its forward thinking, thorough in its arguments, and refreshingly modern in tone. "The object of this Essay is to explain as clearly as I am able grounds of an opinion which I have held from the very earliest period when I had formed any opinions at all on social political matters, and which, instead of being weakened or modified, has been constantly growing stronger by the progress reflection and the experience of life. That the principle which regulates the existing social relations between the two sexes—the legal subordination of one sex to the other—is wrong itself, and now one of the chief hindrances to human improvement; and that it ought to be replaced by a principle of perfect equality, admitting no power or privilege on the one side, nor disability on the other."
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He was the first male philosopher to argue vociferously for the emancipation of women in Victorian society and for the recognition of their personal, legal and political rights, including the right to work outside the domestic sphere, the right to higher education and the right to suffrage.Aug 01 2009 | Read Full Review of On the Subjection of Women (O...