What is Liberal Feminism?

 By: Lucy Brookes
Liberal Feminism has been called the mainstream form of feminism out of all the sub types.

It is said that liberal feminism is an individualistic form, concentrating on women having the ability to maintain their equality through being responsible for their own actions and choices.

The ideology of the liberal feminist is that women will transform society, through their own personal interactions with the opposite sex.

The liberal feminist believes "All women are capable of asserting their ability to achieve equality, therefore it is possible for change to happen without altering the structure of society."

The liberal feminist also believe that the equality of men and women can only be achieved by changes being brought through political and legal reform. They want the eradication of institutional bias and implementations of fairer laws towards women.

Some of the main issues of liberal feminism include reproductive and abortions rights, sexual harassment, voting rights, education, affordable childcare and affordable health care.

The United States liberal feminists campaign for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and the Constitutional Equity Amendment. They want to ensure that men and women are treated as equals under the democratic laws that influence and govern women's lives.

They also bring to the forefront the issues of sexual and domestic violence perpetrated against women.

Other issues that the liberal feminists identify are disability rights, ecofeminism, family, marriage equality, mother's economical rights and media activism.

Writers of liberal feminism, Mary Wollstonecraft and John Stuart Mill were publishing within the first wave of feminism during the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

The second wave of feminism during the 1960's to 1970's produced liberal feminist writers such as Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem and Rebecca Walker who is one of the third wave's liberal feminist's writers.

Critics of liberal feminism say, "Individual assumptions make it difficult to see ways in which underlying social structures and values disadvantage women."

They state that even if a woman is no longer dependent on an individual man, they will still be living in a patriarchal state. Thus institutional changes alone are insufficient to give women equality in society.

The liberal feminist has also been criticised further for being based on white, middle class women's issues. It was noted that they had ignored the plight of other women of different races, cultures or class.
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