Woolf in fact was writing in the first light of this moment. well, the overwhelming majority of fiction by women has not met her androgynous standard, instead it has been the literature of grievance and feminine causes.
But that was to be expected, if, as Woolf herself perceived, the female ethos is one of peace (security), then the fiction (and the politics) of women would be expected to celebrate security at the expense of freedom, to elevate the particular over the general, to emphasize the moment rather than age, and so it does.
Such is the basic message of this long essay--adapted from two lectures the author gave in 1928 at Newnham College and Girton College, Cambridge.
Her basic thesis is that there was no extant body of great women's literature because, in the past, women did not have the education, the income, the privacy, the experiences of the broader world, or the time to write.
At the time women were given the vote, Western democracy was at perhaps it's most unfettered.
Essays Virginia Woolf Vol 5
Since then, government, though democratic, has become an enormous restraining force upon people's freedom in general and on their economic freedom in particular.The several thousand years of Western Civilization consist of nothing more than the struggle between freedom and security, a struggle in which freedom finally has the upper hand.In politics this is reflected in the rise of the modern liberal democracy; in economics by the triumph of capitalism; in religion by the ascendancy of protestantism in Christianity, Judaism and Islam; and in literature it is reflected in novels ranging from to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.The fundamental mission of both is to replace a culture based on freedom, morality and justice, with one based on security, egalitarianism, anti-heroism, and sameness--a sort of dictatorship of the lowest common denominator.The same thing has happened, perhaps more demonstrably, in politics.As a result, not only is the body or works written by women fairly small, most of the little that is known about the women of the past was also written by men.Therefore, there is no tradition of women's literature, nor a history of womankind, from which prospective authors could draw upon.And fatal is no figure of speech; for anything written with that conscious bias is doomed to death. Brilliant and effective, powerful and masterly, as it may appear for a day or two, it must wither at nightfall; it cannot grow in the minds of others.Some collaboration has to take place in the mind between the woman and the man before the act of creation can be accomplished. The whole of the mind must lie wide open if we are to get the sense that the writer is communicating his experience with perfect fullness. Ms Woolf seems to have had little interest in politics or feminism or anything much else, except for art itself.[There are, of course, exception, including : Sharon Kay Penman, Hope Muntz, Flannery O'Connor, and Harper Lee.] More interesting is the fate of Woolf's fiction and her own attempt to write androgynously.The novel, in Woolf's hands, became prismatic, ambiguous, at least slightly chaotic, amoral and poetic, and concerned itself primarily with outwardly unremarkable people.