The Rights of Women: Reclaiming a Lost Vision

Product Details
University of Notre Dame Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.86 inches | 1.24 pounds

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About the Author

Erika Bachiochi is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a senior fellow at the Abigail Adams Institute, where she founded and directs the Wollstonecraft Project. She is the editor of Women, Sex, and the Church: A Case for Catholic Teaching and The Cost of "Choice" Women Evaluate the Impact of Abortion.


"The Rights of Women shows clearly that feminism took a wrong turn, especially following The Feminine Mystique. It also illuminates beautifully a path back to a more magnanimous feminism--one based on a true anthropology of womanhood, rather than the crabbed and diminished anthropology that today's feminists have mistakenly embraced." --Praxis Circle

"With this book, Bachiochi has presented a compelling counterargument to the prevailing narrative, depicting a notion of female equality and happiness that embraces a woman's capacity for childbearing, encouraging sexual virtue and strong marriages as an antidote to the inequalities and injustices that abortion can never hope to solve." --Public Discourse

"In The Rights of Women, legal scholar Bachiochi . . . builds an intellectual bridge across the generations of feminist thought from Mary Wollstonecraft to Mary Ann Glendon; offers a bracing critique of various currents in contemporary feminist theory; and thereby makes an important contribution to thoughtful reflection on contemporary American culture and society." --First Things

"Bachiochi adds an important new voice to the conversation criticizing the nation's turn to revering market profit and the freedom to be left alone above all else. Feminists may not agree with all of her critique of contemporary feminism, but they would do well to engage with her powerful argument that conceptualizing the movement's goal as sex equality in the workplace is too narrow." --Maxine Eichner, author of The Free-Market Family

"Erika Bachiochi is one of the most brilliant and refreshingly original feminist legal scholars writing today. Uncowed by today's momentary orthodoxies, Bachiochi blends a rich understanding of tradition with compelling insights into present-day issues. No one writing in the field exceeds her gifts of insight, clarity, and scholarly fearlessness." --Michael Stokes Paulsen, author of The Constitution: An Introduction

"With clarity and boldness, Erika Bachiochi shows how the moral purpose underlying the case for truly equal rights has been lost even as those rights have been gained. Although it recounts a story of decline, The Rights of Women is ultimately filled with hope because it offers an alternative--a way to recapture the ideal of dignity that gives meaning to equality by grasping that the ultimate purpose of freedom is human flourishing and excellence." --Yuval Levin, author of A Time to Build

"Rights cannot flourish alone. They need to be embedded in a thicker moral context that gives voice to the goods that they should serve, the social duties that govern their exercise, and the virtues that enable respect for them. In this book, Erika Bachiochi recovers a tradition of thought about women's rights that fully recognizes this and, with Mary Wollstonecraft at one end and Mary Ann Glendon at the other, offers an important, salutary correction, not only to libertarian feminism in particular but also to contemporary rights-talk in general." --Nigel Biggar, author of What's Wrong with Rights?

"Bachiochi flips effortlessly from legal analysis to philosophical arguments to sociological observations to characters from classic literature in a way that is almost invisible to the reader . . . in a work that I would describe as, in many places, almost achingly beautiful." --Elizabeth R. Schiltz, co-editor of Feminism, Law, and Religion

"The Rights of Women brilliantly articulates what should be a central concern and debate for feminists today." --Helen M. Alvaré, author of Putting Children's Interests First in U.S. Family Law and Policy

"Examining Wollstonecraft's philosophical writings on sex, sexuality, and motherhood--as a lens through which to view the history of feminism in the United States--Bachiochi argues that between the 19th and 21st centuries, too many American women abandoned Wollstonecraftian ideals of virtue and fairness, replacing them with the self-defeating ideology (and various waves) of progressive feminism." --National Review

"The Rights of Women: Reclaiming a Lost Vision . . . portrays women as increasingly disadvantaged by principles that became prominent in the 20th century's conception of liberty. Rather than merely liberating, [Bachiochi] argues, the industrial and sexual revolutions have disrupted longstanding dynamics that allow the sexes to pursue authentic freedom; that is, the freedom to pursue virtue in familial and social relationships." --FoxNews

"Along with the maternal accompaniment of Our Lady, the Wollstonecraft-Glendon understanding of women's rights--a truly ennobling and liberating moral vision--reimagines feminism, and Bachiochi's book brilliantly explains how that understanding evolved." --National Catholic Register

"Bachiochi offers us a cohesive historical lens through which to adopt Wollstonecraft's program of virtue today, even as we already see it bearing fruit in households that we admire. 'Without that intentional human development properly prioritized in the life of the home, ' Bachiochi asserts, 'persons (and markets) [will] do little good outside of it.'" --The Interim

"The purpose of freedom is for human flourishing, not flouting the virtues, as this excellent work so clearly demonstrates." --Catholic Medical Quarterly

"Bachiochi's work is a call to reimagine feminism. What if men and women pursued equality, not as self-destructive license, but as freedom for the sake of human excellence? " --National Catholic Register

"At the heart of Erika Bachiochi's The Rights of Women: Reclaiming a Lost Vision is the assertion that human beings are not defined by autonomy but rather by relations of dependency and obligation." --The Catholic World Report

"Bachiochi takes her readers on a thorough and scholarly examination of leading feminist thought as it developed through the past 200-plus years, through the lens of early feminist author Mary Wollstonecraft. . . . Let us hope that Bachiochi's vision is realizable, for it would certainly be the beginning of a more humane world, for both sexes." --The University Bookman

"In Bachiochi's book, we see Wollstonecraft's legacy percolate through the 19th-century American women's movement--in which the tension between individualism and life in common hums." --UnHerd

"Erika Bachiochi, in her book The Rights of Women: Reclaiming a Lost Vision, offers a memorial to Wollstonecraft, an effort to reclaim the moral vision of this early feminist for our time. . . . I earnestly commend Bachiochi's book to a wide audience and to feminists of every stripe." --Marginalia

"Rights of Women doesn't claim to be a conservative book, but it renews a challenge that cuts to the heart of the conservative movement." --The American Conservative

"Erika Bachiochi's The Rights of Women is the most impressive anti-a-bortion book to appear in years." --First Things

"Part history, part legal theory, and part political philosophy, The Rights of Women provides a compelling contribution to feminist dialogue, both applauding the gains and critiquing the missteps made during women's quest for advancement. . . . Bachiochi offers a judicious analysis of women's history that informs her refreshing portrait of dignitarian feminism." --Law & Liberty

"Now and then a book comes along that changes the way one thinks about the world. Erika Bachiochi's The Rights of Women is one of these books." --Modern Age