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The Roots Of Feminism: A Powerful Fight For Equality

International Women's Day: 5 feminists on the future of feminism - Vox

What is feminism?

Feminism is the advocacy for the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. Although feminism may seem relatively new, people have been advocating for women’s rights on the basis of equality among the sexes for about 300 years. Feminism has revolutionized the idea of equality over time. It’s ideologies revolve around respecting women’s identities, experiences, knowledge, and strengths by empowering all and ensuring that women have the same opportunities as men, with hopes of eliminating gender barriers.

What are the origins of feminism?

The modern feminist movement occurred as a result of the political and social changes throughout centuries. Although there are initiatives that sparked feminist ideas much before, one of the most notable instances in history was the publication of the “Vindication of the Rights of Women” by Mary Wollstonecraft in 1792. This argued for women’s rights to equal education. This was one of the first texts of the modern feminist movement and became a guide to the feminist movement years to follow.

First-Wave Feminism (19th century-mid 20th century)

What did it want?

  • Women’s suffrage
  • Allow married women to inherit property and obtain legal identity, independent from their husbands
  • Right to stand in elections
  • End employment-sex discrimination

What did it achieve?

  • Women’s right to vote
  • Property rights act
  • Freedom to stand in elections (despite their gender or marital status)
  • Broad sex discrimination legislation

Second-Wave Feminism (1960s/1970s)

What did it want?

  • Increased representation for women in the workforce
  • Equal pay
  • Maternity rights
  • End employment- gender discrimination
  • Legal/available abortion and contraception
  • Elimination of sexual objectification

What did it achieve?

  • Abortion legalization acts
  • Equal pay acts
  • Employment protection arts
  • Criminalization of marital rape
  • Recognition of domestic abuse

Third-Wave Feminism (1990s/2010s)

What did it want?

  • Increased number of women in positions of power
  • Focus on individualism and intersectionality
  • Trans rights
  • Workplace equality
  • Access to birth control and abortion

What did it achieve?

  • Refined ideas about gender, beauty, sexuality, and other issues
  • Brought attention to workplace sexual harassment
  • Violence Against Women Act

Fourth-Wave Feminism (2012-Present)

  • Focuses on sexual harassment, body shaming, and rape culture, among other issues with the use of internet tools
  • Uses print, news, and social media planforms to speak against abusers of power in seeking for the empowerment of women wanting justice against sexual assault and harassment

There is also a continuous fight for equality in the aforementioned areas as the past waves of feminism have evolved but not fully eliminated societal issues for women.