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The Ladies Calling, in two parts by the author of…
Richard Allestree (1619-1681)
Oxford: Printed at the Theater, 1673
First edition
BJ1609 A45 1673

Authorship of this work is variously attributed to Lady Dorothy Pakington, Richard Stern, and others, but most frequently to Richard Allestree. Allestree was a student of Christ Church and considered a protégé. His later works were among the most popular of those in English published by the Oxford University press at the time. The Ladies Calling went through five editions within four years, republished into the 1720s.

In this work, Allestree wrote, “[L]adies need not be much at a loss how to entertain themselves, nor run abroad in a romantic quest after foreign divertissements, when they have such variety of engagements at home.” Allestree appeared to question the opinion that women were “naturally inferior to men.” He suggested that inequality between the sexes come down to a matter of educational opportunity, “and truly had women same advantage, I dare not say but they would make as good returns of it.” Still, Allestree believed that the female predicament was caused by “the first woman’s disobedience to God” and “that she (and all derived from her) should be subject to the husband.”