The Lack of Opportunities Available to Women: The reason for the apparent lack of female geniuses

1. Introduction

Virginia Woolf’s essay “Shakespeare’s Sister” broaches the subject of Shakespeare by exploring the fact that a professor whose work she has studied suggests that a woman could never write anything in the way of the playwright’s genius. It is her conclusion that, at any rate, it would have been impossible for a woman to match the genius of Shakespeare in the time of Shakespeare (Woolf 3).

2. Woolf’s thesis: the role of women in poetry

Woolf posits that if Shakespeare had had a sister, and this sister matched Shakespeare in adventurousness and imagination, she would have had no opportunity to exercise these qualities in likeness to that of Shakespeare himself. The reason for this is because, at the time, women were not encouraged to partake in creativity or academics, but instead were expected to marry young and bear children.

The only outlet for a woman with a creative mind would have been through poetry, which was not taken as seriously as prose or drama. Woolf goes on to say that even if this hypothetical sister had managed to publish her poems, they would have been attributed to her husband or father and she would have received no credit for them.

3. Shakespeare’s sister

This hypothetical sister of Shakespeare’s that Woolf speaks of is representative of all women who attempt to express themselves creatively during a time when it was not socially acceptable for them to do so. The fact that she would most likely go unrecognized for her work echoes the experiences of many women throughout history who have had their accomplishments attributed to men or been otherwise unable to receive credit for their contributions.

4. Woolf’s conclusion

In conclusion, Woolf argues that the lack of opportunities available to women throughout history is responsible for the apparent lack of female geniuses in fields such as literature or art. She posits that if society were more accepting of women’s creativity, there would be many more women artists and writers whose work would be celebrated alongside that of their male counterparts.

While Virginia Woolf’s “Shakespeare’s Sister” is focused on the role of women in poetry, her thoughts on the subject can easily be applied to other creative fields as well. The lack of opportunities available to women has resulted in a dearth of female geniuses in many different areas, and it is only by changing our societal norms that we can hope to see more women achieving greatness in their chosen fields.


Women played a very important role in poetry during Woolf's time. They were often the muse for poets and their work was highly respected.

Since then, the role of women in poetry has changed quite a bit. Women are now able to be published poets in their own right and are no longer solely seen as the inspiration for male poets.

It is important to understand the history of women in poetry because it helps us to understand how far we have come and how much progress we have made. It also allows us to see how far we still need to go in terms of gender equality within the literary world.

Some key female poets from Woolf's era include Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

The main obstacle these women faced was that they were not taken seriously as poets because they were women. Their work was often dismissed or overlooked simply because of their gender.

We can learn a great deal from studying the works of these female poets, including the importance of perseverance and determination in spite of obstacles.

Woolf's research on this topic has had a profound impact on our understanding of gender roles in poetry today