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On the Subjection of Women

J S Mill
Originally published 1869
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 re-
flection and the experience of life. That the principle which regu-
lates 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.
The very words necessary to express the task I have undertaken,
show how arduous it is. But it would be a mistake to suppose that
the difficulty of the case must lie in the insufficiency or obscurity of
the grounds of reason on which my convictions. The difficulty is
that which exists in all cases in which there is a mass of feeling to be
contended against. So long as opinion is strongly rooted in the
THE OBJECT OF THIS ESSAY is to explain as clearly as I am able