"The Subjection of Women" is an essay published in 1869 by English philosopher, Member of Parliament, and political economist John Stuart Mill. He credits many of the ideas expressed in the essay to his wife, Harriet Taylor Mill, who had actually published a more radical essay, "The Enfranchisement of Women", in 1851 with her daughter Helen Taylor.
In his essay, Mill argues for female equality in a Victorian society that denied women many social and political rights. He also points out that while there may be physical differences between men and women, there is no evidence that they differ substantially in mental or moral capabilities. He regards gender inequality as part of an older social system in which matters were decided by use of force and makes a strong argument that modern society should operate on the basis of reason rather than force.
Mill counters the argument that women have achieved less in the arts and sciences with the point that under oppressive conditions of inequality, women have not had the freedom to achieve their potential.