Islington honours Mary Wollstonecraft on International Women’s Day

Eighteenth-century writer, philosopher and advocate of women’s rights Mary Wollstonecraft will be honoured with a memorial plaque at a primary school next Tuesday (8).

The plaque will be unveiled at Newington Green Primary School, In Matthias Road, Newington Green, as part of Islington Council’s green plaque scheme.

The event coincides with International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women.

Mary Wollstonecraft was born on April 27, 1759 in Spitalfields, and is best known for writing A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), in which she argues that women are not naturally inferior to men, and that men and women should be treated equally. The author also opened a school for girls in Newington Green, probably on the south-east corner, although nothing of the building remains today.

Wollstonecraft died at the age of 38. Her daughter Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, later Mary Shelley, became an accomplished writer herself, best known for creating Frankenstein.

Councillor Catherine West, leader of Islington Council, will unveil the plaque at 2pm.

Councillor West said: “This is a perfect way to mark International Women’s Day in Islington.

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It’s thanks to people like Mary Wollstonecraft that society gradually began to change its views on women’s rights. I’m very pleased that we’ll be able to mark her impact on Islington with this lasting memorial and everyone is welcome to come along.”

The plaque for Mary Wollstonecraft follows three green plaques put up last year to commemorate historic sites: the former ANC Headquarters in Penton Street, the birthplace of comic actor Kenneth Williams in Bingfield Street, and Sir Michael Sobell’s contribution to the Sobell Leisure Centre.

International Women’s Day is also being marked at Islington Town Hall on Upper Street, with an exhibition from the Mexican Women’s Art Collective. From Saturday (March 5) their paintings capturing the history and culture of indigenous women and exploring the relationship of women to each other, will be on display in the Town Hall foyer. The exhibition will be on display for two weeks, with new pieces added in the second week.