Indeed, she had the whole of the other sex under her protection; for reasons she could not explain, for their chivalry and valor, for the fact that they negotiated treaties, ruled India, controlled finance; finally for an attitude towards herself which no woman could fail to feel or to find agreeable…and woe betide the girl…who did not feel the worth of it…

This quotation appears in Chapter I of The Window, as Mrs. Ramsay thinks about how she admonishes her daughters to not speak harshly of Charles Tansley, even though she herself doesn’t like him. Mrs. Ramsay has a very traditional view of gender roles, believing that while men do the works of genius that run British society, women must nurture and protect them. We will see her follow through on this philosophy throughout The Window, as she matchmakes, gives endless reassurance to Mr. Ramsay to the point of exhaustion, and forces Lily into making dinner conversation with Charles Tansley.

[She] stood quite motionless for a moment against a picture of Queen Victoria wearing the blue ribbon of the Garter; when all at once he realized that it was this: it was this:—she was the most beautiful person he had ever seen.

Charles Tansley has these thoughts about Mrs. Ramsay in Chapter I of The Window while they run errands. While many characters mention Mrs. Ramsay’s beauty, this particular moment, with her standing beside Queen Victoria’s portrait, is particularly revealing as to what makes her beautiful. Queen Victoria evokes Victorian womanhood, the archetypal caring and nurturing angel of domesticity. Although the novel is set in the late Edwardian era, Mrs. Ramsay represents the femininity of this older generation. Even as the world moves forward, she and her ideals carry an idealized beauty that most of the male characters find irresistible.

For her own self-satisfaction was it that she wished so instinctively to help, to give, that people might say of her, "O Mrs. Ramsay! dear Mrs. Ramsay...Mrs. Ramsay, of course!" and need her and send for her and admire her?

Mrs. Ramsay has these thoughts in Chapter VIII of The Window as she uneasily considers why it bothers her that Augustus Carmichel doesn’t appear to like her. She prefers to think of herself as someone who is always giving to others, doing charity work, setting up marriages, hosting people at the family summer house. However, she recognizes that there is a selfish side to her giving. She enjoys being needed and the feeling she gets from people needing her, and it enhances her own vanity, her perception of herself as a good person.

Always she got her own way in the end, Lily thought. Now she had brought this off--Paul and Minta, one might suppose, were engaged. Mr. Bankes was dining here. She put a spell on them all, by wishing, so simply, so directly,

Lily Briscoe has this thought during Chapter XVII of The Window. Here, she notices how Mrs. Ramsay’s generosity often slips into a need to give and protect that is overbearing. Embedded in Mrs. Ramsay’s thoughtfulness is an overprotectiveness, a belief that if people let her care for them, she can improve their life. So regardless of whether William Bankes enjoys dining with company or whether Paul and Minta are well suited for each other, Mrs. Ramsay believes these things are so and forces them to be so for the sake of her desire to help the people around her.