What is Feminism?

 By: Lucy Brookes
Feminism is concerned with gender inequalities in society and the equal rights for women. This encases social, cultural and political movements, theories and moral philosophies that affect women in everyday life. Feminism also takes up the fight against other forms of discrimination.

Some feminists argue that "gendered and sexed identities, such as 'man' and 'woman' are social constructs, meaning that some gender roles are socially conditioned rather than innate."

For many people the feminist movement came in three waves starting from the 19th century to the present day.

The first wave occurred between the 19th and early 20th centuries, starting in the United Kingdom and United States. Their main concerns were with equal contract and property rights for women.

The Suffrage movement began at the end of the 19th century, with the main focus being on gaining political power and the right for women to vote.

The second was during the 1960's and 1970's were cultural and political inequalities were bound together as problem faced by women.

The beginning of the third wave started in the early 1990's to the present day and slams the failure of the second wave. They deem the previous wave to be too focused on the upper middle class white women's views and experiences.

It was argued and still is that through the history of feminism the majority of the leaders have been white middle class women from Western Europe or North America.

Thus alienating women of different colours and races, which was stated in a speech given to US Feminists by ex black slave "Sojourner Truth" in 1851. Sojourner purports that as a black woman she is viewed as even lower than white woman.

Women of other races set up alternative feminist groups which gained more followers in the 1960's civil rights movement in the United States.

Post-colonial and Third World feminism proposed alternatives, with the post-colonial feminist slamming western feminism for being ethnocentric. The definition of ethnocentrism will be discussed in a later article.

In the 1980's feminists realised that an understanding of global issues that also effect women of different races, colours and cultural was essential to understanding gender inequality. In turn this would show that racism, homophobia and classis are intrinsic in society and how they control women.

The Feminist political activists have challenged and brought women issues to the forefront of people's concentions while also creating debate. They changed laws in women right to contract and property and the right to bodily integrity and autonomy. This includes the right for a woman to have an abortion and the right to take and access contraception.

Furthermore they are advocates for the protection of women from domestic violence, rape and sexual harassment. Also rights for women in the workplace and the legal right for maternity leave and equal pay.
Artice Source: http://www.articlesphere.com
Article Tags: feminism

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