©2008 NewFoundations

George Bernard Shaw On "Woman"

edited 8/19/11

A scion of a genteel Irish Protestant family, Shaw at the age of twenty went to London to become a writer. Following two decades of extremely hard times, he became England’s leading man of letters, a Nobel laureate and the best-known English dramatist since Shakespeare.

Alternately respected and reviled, Shaw became one of the world’s most celebrated and controversial intellectuals who expressed himself with both frankness and wit on all subjects.

Much of Shaw’s success can be attributed to the two women in his life--his mother and his wife. “I made a man of myself-- at my mother’s expense,” he said, for it was his mother who helped him to become a writer.

Shaw was forty before he even contemplated marriage, but once he took the step, he and his wealthy wife lived together for forty-five years in a harmonious and mutually supportive union.



George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) -- Anglo-Irish dramatist, novelist, critic and controversial intellectual

You sometimes have to answer a woman according to her womanishness, just as you have to answer a fool
according to his folly.
-- An Unsocial Socialist

The ideal woman is a man, though women lie low and let that secret keep itself.
-- Letter, September 1896

It is a great advantage to women to be regarded as a race apart, an advantage, which, as usual, they abuse unscrupulously.
-- Quoted in Antonio Raeburn’s Militant Suffragettes

Women are supposed to have no political power; but clever women put stupid husbands into parliament and into ministerial offices quite easily.
-- Letter, January 1902

The whole world is strewn with snares, traps, gins, and pitfalls for the capture of men by women.
-- Dedication to Man and Superman

Except when the death of a man’s wife occurs at such a time that he has to pay a stranger to discharge her household and parental duties until he goes back to the cheaper plan of marrying again, it is very hard to convince him that his wife is a productive worker.
-- Letter, 1895

Home is the girl ‘s prison and the woman’s workhouse.
-- Maxims for Revolutionists

The Chinese tame fowl by clipping their wings, and women by deforming their feet. A petticoat around the ankles serves equally well.
-- Maxims for Revolutionists

The one point upon which all women are in furious secret rebellion against the existing law is the saddling of the right to a child with the obligation to be the servant of a man.
--  Preface to Getting Married

Give women the vote and in five years there will be a crushing tax on bachelors
. -- Dedication to Man and Superman