Oscar Wilde wrote, "A Woman of No Importance," because of the general ignorance about the Married Women's Property Rights Act, promulgated in 1882, by Queen Victoria. This play was not a big success, surely not for it being of an inferior quality, but more for depicting gender inequalities in the Victorian era. This was a very shocking and unpleasant theme at the time. Wilde makes a social satire by criticizing implicitly the social and gender inequalities. Oscar Wilde was not the only one to do so, other authors and artists depicted society's wrong habits.
During this era, men and women weren't treated equally, and didn't face the same charges for their faults. In, "A Woman of No Importance," Wilde didn't say that society was unfair, but he heaved the idea in the play through the history of Mrs. Arbuthnot. After her sexual relations with Lord Illingworth, he left her alone to give birth to Gerald, a bastard. For decades, she had to live as someone she wasn't. She changed her identity, lived a life in a low social class, raising the child alone. Meanwhile, Lord Illingworth became a wealthy lord, and continued having all kinds of affairs and relations with nothing holding him back. He lived a prosperous and comfortable life. We can note that his personality has not changed since he is still a horrible person at the end of the play. After Mrs. Arbuthnot cracks and reveals Lord Illingworth's true identity, she says, "And the ending is the ordinary ending. The woman suffers. The man goes free." Wilde makes it quite visible that both of them have sinned, but have not been punished equally at all. Mrs. Arbuthnot, the one who is described as, "what is good and pure in life," by Hester, has to suffer to save her son's reputation. While the selfish Lord Illingworth, gets away with his act.
Elsewhere in the play Hester talks about her hatred for Mrs Allonby. Hester says she is a puritan, but we know her character is flawed and ironic.