As the historical records prove, women have long been creating original contributions to philosophy. We have valuable writings from female philosophers from antiquity and the Middle Ages, and a continuous tradition from the Renaissance to today. The history of women philosophers thus stretches back as far as the history of philosophy itself. The presence as well as the absence of women philosophers throughout the course of history parallels the history of philosophy as a whole. Edith Stein, Hannah Arendt, and Simone de Beauvoir did not appear from nowhere. They stand, so to speak, on the shoulders of the female titans who came before them.
Although women were restricted in their access to education and participation in society, such restrictions could not completely prevent them from thinking and writing. The material brought to light gives us cause to rethink both our concepts and interpretations of the history of philosophy in general and our view of the history of female philosophers in particular.