Unlike men, women had limited time and space to produce literary works and because of this denial, Woolf believes that this forced women to face the harshness of society and come to matters of truth when it comes to being legally bounded to their husbands. Woolf helps women shine in a new light and bloom to show a new side of female literary components that changed our world. Her ideas on male vs. female dominance could have derived from her unlimited access to her father’s library at a young age and watching her own brothers attend Cambridge for their education.
Woolf plays around with the ideas of women being able to write fiction, the environment a woman would need to write, and the economics of a woman writing fiction. The first chapter of A Room of One’s Own deals with women trespassing onto the grass of Oxbridge when “Only the Fellows and Scholars are allowed here; the gravel is the place for me” (Woolf, 17). Woolf suggests that social justice needs to take place for any woman to be valued.
Woolf also goes to the extent of sarcastically creating a fictional woman named Judith Shakespeare who is meant to be Shakespeare’s sister to show how history and it’s truths can be expressed best by fiction. In chapter 2, Woolf explains the booming success of Shakespeare but responds with “meanwhile, his extraordinarily gifted sister, let us suppose, remained at home. She was as adventurous, as imaginative, as agog to see the world as he was. But she was not sent to school. She had no chance of learning grammar and logic, let alone of reading Horace and Virgil.” Woolf continues a few lines further with, “But then her parents came in and told her to mend the stocking or mind the stew and not moon about with books and papers. They would have spoken sharply but kindly, for they were substantial people who knew the conditions of life for a woman” (Woolf, 38). Women were thought upon being stowed away in homes to bear children, tend to the men, and work as housewives with no education or experience in literature.
Below shows an interview with Cherie Blair on women’s rights in education and academic ignorance that was posted in 2011 from the University of Trento. Cherie Blair is a female activist fighting for women’s rights. She even founded her own organization for empowering women and driving growth. This interview can help support Woolf’s ideals on what women should have been given in a more direct manner rather than her essay format of fiction versus truth. This shows that even today in the 21st century, there are some women who are battling for their rights in education and are struggling to speak their voice. After watching this clip, it was clear that Woolf’s ideas are reflected in Blair’s inspiring words.