Search "woman" in An Ideal Husband and you'll come by lots of zingers. "Women represent the irrational." "Women have a wonderful instinct about things. They can discover everything except the obvious." And can you believe it: "A man's life is of more value than a woman's." What's the deal? Well, in 1890s England, women simply weren't considered men's equals or colleagues in public life. An equal right to vote came in 1928. There are lots of unpleasant words about (and between) women in this play. But take a look at their actions. These women are aware of their power over men and they use it, whether for love or hate.
While men exert wider public influence in the play, women press their own agendas by manipulating men with sex and guilt.
While Lord Goring appears to be the play's most progressive character, he is in fact its most sexist.