What the treatment of two of history’s original “nasty women,” Mary Hays and Mary Darby Robinson, can tell us about how society has long consigned outspoken women to infamy or obliteration.

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How the dangerously powerful words of two of history’s original “nasty women,” Olympe de Gouges and Mary Wollstonecraft, were silenced, suppressed, and nearly lost to history.

While the stories of history’s first female doctors of philosophy are inspiring, they also highlight the galling realities of women’s centuries-long struggle to obtain equal educational opportunities and professional and intellectual respect. Seen as a whole, they have the power to light a fire beneath armchair inspiration and provoke similarly bold and progressive action.