Are Women Human? Penetrating, Sensible, and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society

Introduction by Mary McDermott Shideler

One of the first women to graduate from Oxford University, Dorothy Sayers pursued her goals whether or not what she wanted to do was ordinarily understood to be “feminine.” Sayers did not devote a great deal of time to talking or writing about feminism, but she did explicitly address the issue of women’s role in society in the two classic essays collected here.

Central to Sayers’s reflections is the conviction that both men and women are first of all human beings and must be regarded as essentially much more alike than different. We are to be true not so much to our sex as to our humanity. The proper role of both men and women, in her view, is to find the work for which they are suited and to do it.

Though written several decades ago, these essays still offer in Sayers’s piquant style a sensible and conciliatory approach to ongoing gender issues.

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3 Comments

  1. way before her time Are women human? That’s the stark question the British writer Dorothy Sayers (1893-1957) posed in two short essays written in 1938, and originally published in 1947 in a collection of her essays called Unpopular Opinions. She had more than an academic interest in the question. When she finished Somerville College, Oxford, with first class honors in modern languages in 1915, they didn’t yet grant degrees to women. 

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