Wollstonecraft, Mary (1759–97), British author and feminist. Her influential book, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1791), was based on the egalitarian principles of the French Revolution and promoted the cause of equal rights for women. She also wrote other essays, translations, and stories that focused attention on the role of women in society. Harshly critical of the notion that women were intellectually inferior to men, she was a strong believer in equal educational opportunities for women. She died shortly after the birth of her daughter, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, author of the novel Frankenstein.