Free Essay

Feminism Essay

In: Historical Events

Submitted By loganpollock
Words 1847
Pages 8
Feminism is the fight for equal rights of both genders. Feminists try to gain the rights that women have been deprived of, but men have always seemed to have. Much of the world portrayed women as dispensable house wives before the turn of the 20th century. It wasn’t until the idea of a global war that women started to gain importance and value throughout society. Women worked in the factories and other various jobs during the war. They enjoyed the independence they experienced from receiving their own paycheck. Preceding the war, women began to riot and march as groups that stood for equal rights of both genders. These women impacted today’s society and the rights of women with their perseverance for change. They liberated and gained civil rights for women that lead to equal rights in many countries throughout Western Europe. Women changed the social, economic, and political factors of the world with their movements, which in turn, entirely changed the way they were perceived and valued.
Socially, women suffered in the pre-war era. Women worked in their homes for most of their lives. They had no control over matters like reproduction or daycare because no methods were presented to them. Birth control was non-existent and day care wasn’t needed because women were expected to be at home during the day. Women had no control over their own body; they were forced to have children they didn’t want because of conflict with their spouse and were also forced into having illegal abortions. Many of the women were traumatized and afraid. During the time of war, these measures started to become more lenient. Mothers began to gain more rights, for example; child allowances could be payable to the mother, and social services like day care were provide during the war so women could work. Unfortunately these rights were taken away as the war drew to an end. The two regimes that saw the harsh severity concerning feminism were Italy and Germany. These countries undermined feminism making all rights to privacy and reproduction a state matter.Mussolini’s regime created many more difficulties such as only employing married women with a form of public assistance allowances also being payable to fathers. This strengthened men’s dominant roles in society and home life. It was times like these that post war debates on issues such as parental rights of mothers, economic benefits to the family, and legalization of birth control were brought up to the government. It wasn’t until the year of 1967 that a new legislation passed the law on behalf of contraception; it was now legal if prescribed, but if less than 18 years old, parental consent was required. Propaganda also had a major role showing women in a certain light. The national socialists showed women as heroic workers in many occupations. As the end of the war came about, many psychologists looked at the fundamentals of motherhood and the restrictions put in place by society and the government. They formed hypotheses and theories with many coming to the conclusion that motherhood should be a finite and limited job. This marked the post war era as a time for change in family, and the status of women.
These social changes brought a new image to women; they had more control over their body and reproduction. The next step was economic change. They needed to become less dependent on their spouse and be able to make their own money. As Harriet Taylor Mill said, “A women who contributes materially to support the family, cannot be treated in the same contemptuously tyrannical manner as one who, however she may toil as a domestic drudge, is dependent on the man for subsistence.” Unfortunately many women suffered from the ‘double burden, of being workers and mothers. This not only put stress on the family life but on the ability for women to keep jobs outside the house. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev declared, “Soviet women have all the opportunities to fully participate in the political, cultural, and social life of their nation.” Many states still believed that a women’s duty was to her household and didn’t support this ideology. In fact, most of the Western welfare states supported this claim, feeling that a women working around the house was a desirable and inevitable life. Women’s pay outside the home was seen as temporary and less desirable. In Western Europe between 1950 and 1973, the economic miracle happened (a large amount of economic growth.) For example, Nina Bang, from Denmark served as a minister of education under the Social Democratic cabinet from 1924 to 1926. She became the first female minister in an internationally recognized government. This helped the rise of education and the labour market, which in turn helped their economy. The women’s labour force participation soon took a major increase in the 1960s to the 1990s but only in part time work. 90% of part time workers in Belgium, Germany, and the United Kingdom were women. These jobs were considered to be more insecure, have lower wages, and less rights.For women, this was the only type of work they could get, even if they had a better education. Unfortunately, many of the western nations did not enforce the equal pay law. The Neoliberalism thinking spread throughout Europe, these ideas show the importance of flexible labour, and reduce the welfare of the state. This influenced globalization in Western Europe. Regrettably, women still suffer from lower pay then men around the world, but women are now working in full time jobs and moving away from domestic work. There are now many services that allow women to work outside the house such as maids and daycare services. This helped women gain their independence and hopefully one day they will receive equal pay throughout the world.
After World War I, women started to gain the confidence to go out into the work force and apply for jobs outside the household. Many women wanted to work in politics in an attempt to change the way women were perceived in society. But unfortunately the continent was under many border changes because of the Treaty of Versailles, leaving matters like feminism on the back burner. Women were also asked to participate in the war efforts in places like France and Britain as builders of bombs and airplanes. The people saw women as a wonderful workforce that was diminished as soon as the men came back from war. Their roles showed everybody the power and strength women had by doing work that was usually done by men. At the beginning of the Second World War, many of the advances in feminism that women had made were forgotten, but that did not deteriorate the efforts women put forth. In countries with totalitarian governments like Germany and Italy, feminist organizations had been eliminated and their leaders were silenced, these countries being the outliers. Because these countries were seen as evil during the time, many democratic countries wanted to show that they were nothing like their dictator neighbours. In January 1940 Jus Suffragii, a journal published on women’s suffrage, declared that France had open up legal professions to women and stated the suppression on forced marriage in France and their colonies, showing that while others were in fear of women, many embraced the idea of an equal society. The United Nations played a major role in the labours of feminism. Issues of the holocaust brought attention to human rights movements in the country. During April of 1945, the founding members of the United Nations met in San Francisco. They declared equal rights of men and women of all nations large and small. In the spring of 1946, the Commission of Human Rights, a division of the United Nations declared the economic and social aspects to n established committee known as the Commission on the Status of Women. Their goal was to improve the social, economic, political, and educational fields regarding women. Some accomplishments these women achieved include the convention on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, as well as the 1967 UN Covenants on civil and political, economic, social, and cultural rights. The commission’s goal from the years 1946-1947 was to have an international women’s year, commending these brave women for their initiatives during the inter war period. They commended the feminists from Europe and America working on behalf of the women issues in the League of Nations. The women’s liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s also brought a lot of attention to not only women, but also the need for representation. Although there is still much work to be done on behalf of women and equal rights, these valiant women laid the foundations down for what makes our society better and more fair for women today.
In conclusion, feminism had many accomplishments throughout the post war era. This can be seen in the 20th century with the social, economic, and political movements. Women were seen as poor housewives with no civil rights. The First and Second World Wars motivated women to leave their homes and go into the workplace. They enjoyed their freedom and didn’t want it to end. They brought many new rights like birth control and daycare facilities to society as well as political gains like the right to vote and join parliament. Without these brave women, today’s world would be male dominate and unjust. Although there is still more room for gender equality to grow, over the 20th century it has become substantially better. If it weren’t for the feminist leaders who became influential following World War I, the world wouldn’t of ever become as we know it today.

[ 1 ]. Taylor Allen pp.210 post war era
[ 2 ]. Taylor Allen pp, 218 post war era
[ 3 ]. Taylor Allen pp.210 post war era
[ 4 ]. Taylor Allen pp.210 post war era
[ 5 ]. Taylor Allen pp.210 post war era
[ 6 ]. Taylor Allen pp. 210 post war era
[ 7 ]. Taylor Allen pp 214 post war era
[ 8 ]. Taylor Allen pp.219 post war era
[ 9 ]. Taylor Allen pp.210 post war era
[ 10 ]. Taylor Allen pp.213 post war era
[ 11 ]. Taylor Allen pp 213 post war era
[ 12 ]. H. Taylor Mill, July 1851
[ 13 ]. Regulska, smith pp. 87
[ 14 ]. Nikita Khruschev Address June 24 1963
[ 15 ]. Regulska, Smith pp. 88
[ 16 ]. Regulska, Smith pp93
[ 17 ]. Regulska Smith pp. 94
[ 18 ]. Regulska Smith pp. 94
[ 19 ]. Regulska Smith pp.94
[ 20 ]. Regulska Smith pp. 94
[ 21 ]. Regulska Smith pp.94
[ 22 ]. Regluska Smith pp. 94
[ 23 ]. Regulska, Smith pp.94
[ 24 ]. Regulska Smith pp. 98
[ 25 ]. Offen,pp.341 chapter 12
[ 26 ]. Offen pp.369 chapter 12
[ 27 ]. Taylor Allen 209 the post war era
[ 28 ]. Offen pp.368 chapter 12
[ 29 ]. Offen pp. 375 chapter 12
[ 30 ]. Offen pp.375 chapter 12
[ 31 ]. Offen pp. 375 chapter 12
[ 32 ]. Offen pp. 375 Chapter 12
[ 33 ]. Offen pp. 375 chapter 12
[ 34 ]. Offen pp. 376 chapter 12
[ 35 ]. Offen pp.376 Chapter 12
[ 36 ]. Offen pp.376 chapter 12
[ 37 ]. Simonton pp.353 chapter 9

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Definition Essay On Feminism

...What is the definition of Feminism? Feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities, also known as the theory of political, economical, and social equality of the sexes. It does not mean that women should receive special treatment, or that men should be put down in order for women to rise above. Feminism is a word that describes a popular movement that has gained many followers in the recent years, it has also been commonly used with the wrong definition. The definition of feminism is not to support the equality for one specific gender, feminism is to have equal standards for all people regardless of gender. This definition is misconstrued through popular icons in the field of feminism. Calling yourself a feminist can leave some people surprised, they might think that you are someone who thinks men are evil, they should be hated, all feminists are females or that you grow out your body hair to make a statement because why not. These are just a few stereotypes that come from people who oppose feminism. The reason many (most) people fear the word feminism is because of its patriarchy which tells women to be quiet, submissive and apologetic. Being a feminist directly defies these expectations which are almost always referred to as bossy,...

Words: 538 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Essay On Feminism In America

...Feminism throughout the United States of America has been quite prevalent since as long as I can remember. I started to hear more and more about this topic while going through my senior year in High School. The topic of feminism can bring about many mixed emotions in the community. In my opinion, most either love it or hate to see it. Although, some feel indifferent about this topic of interest. After having the exposure of going to an all girls catholic High School, many of my peers amongst me felt very strong on this issue. The term feminism is the advocacy for women’s rights. Feminist strive for themselves and others to want to feel equal amongst men, and to have the same equal opportunities present for females. After speaking with two friends of mine I have...

Words: 563 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

First Wave Of Feminism Essay

...Activist Groups of the First Feminism Wave The first wave of feminism took place from 1830 to 1920 and the birth of this first wave was the Abolitionist Movement that ended slavery. During the first feminism wave, the idea of “The New Woman” took place and it implemented new thoughts about women. For example, women became self-reliant, independent, and placed a greater focus on becoming educated. The National American Women’s Suffrage Association and The Women’s Party were two activist groups that advocated for women’s rights to vote in the late 1800’s up to the mid 1900’s. These two feminist organizations took place during the first wave of feminism history and the central focus of both these activist organizations were to make it so women had the right to vote. Many first wave feminists focused on advocating for all women’s right to vote. According to Bromley, “one critically important part of the first wave of women’s movement was concerned with issues of political citizenship for women” (Bromley 134). The National American Women’s Suffrage Association focused on using institutionalized practices when advocating for women’s right to vote. Due to their institutionalized practices, the women of the NAWSA wrote letters, met with state...

Words: 537 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Second Wave Feminism Essay

...Feminism, women (some men too) speaking out against the government to give them equal rights in all areas of their lives. Some people see feminist as brave and forward thinking women. Whereas, others will simply hear the word and immediately start giving you their, usually strongly worded, Argument as to why they are wrong. Is feminism right, is it wrong, or does it even matter if it is either? Whether it is first wave, second wave, or so forth, feminism we are talking about and regardless of where you stand on the point- it happened and it has helped shape america to be the great country that is is to day. There are so many stories, both fictional and not, that help us see what women were thinking and feeling during those first and second...

Words: 628 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Feminism Definition Essay

...Nearly every group of people has been discriminated against at some point in human history. Some of the most common forces driving this relentless continuum are racism, xenophobia, and sexism. In my opinion, sexism has been one of the least resisted and most common forms of discrimination. However, relatively recent movements have begun attempting to create equality for men and women, and have begun shifting the societal views that put women at such great disadvantages. Feminism is the belief in political, economic, and societal equality between the sexes. The name “feminism” can be extremely misleading, as the prefix “fem” implies that the movement is advocating superiority of women. As a result, the main reason resisting feminism is ignorance,...

Words: 276 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay


...Essay # 2 “Based off of my already conceptualized knowledge of the word, I would have to say that a feminist is a person who strongly supports female rights.” This is a quote from my introduction paragraph of the first essay we wrote for this class. Having been in this class and read the works written by feminist authors, I have a better understanding of what a feminist actually is. I also have a better understanding of my identification with feminism. Feminism is an ongoing collection of movements and ideologies that advocate for the betterment of women and a feminist is someone who supports this idea. However, my answer still remains the same as it did; I do not identify as a feminist. It would be an insult to feminist leaders for me to call myself one. I support feminist ideas and feel as though women have been oppressed and still are oppressed, but I am not an active supporter, therefore I would not call myself a feminist. I feel as though a feminist is someone who is active in their support for the movement, i.e. advocating for women by either teaching, writing, protesting, or doing things of that nature to improve the treatment of women. There is a major difference in saying that you support feminism and actually doing something to show that support. To further explain my understanding of feminism, I want to uncover the different layers of oppression that women face. While in the 1900’s the goal of feminism was for women to receive equal treatment to men, feminism is...

Words: 998 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Feminism: First, Second & Third Waves

...Feminism can be defined as a series of political movements originating in the USA to abolish gender inequity and gain equal rights and opportunities for women (Ritzer and Ryan, 224). The women’s movement is broken down into three consecutive waves of feminism. The first wave of feminism began in the early eighteenth century, with it’s main objective to gain women’s suffrage (Ritzer and Ryan, 224). Much of the first wave was characterized by women breaking societal norms and roles imposed upon them and redefining the stigma attached to the perceptions of what women ought to be. As a result of the first wave, the second wave of feminism began in 1972 and provided new information about feminism, as books, such as The Feminine Mystique, began publication (Ritzer and Ryan, 225). The highlights of the second wave consisted of legislative victories over sexism in education and the right to an abortion. The second wave, however, consequently noted the interaction between race oppression and gender oppression, also known as ‘intersectionality’ (Ritzer and Ryan, 225). The third wave of feminism was influenced by the first and second, with it’s existence being debatable. Scholars argue that the movement has changed forms and has indeed continued into the twenty-first century. In actuality, this generation is educated about feminism. Their knowledge derives from the first two waves, with which they draw their own political views to live their lives by, thus the creation of...

Words: 321 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Postfeminism Analysis

...The Television series Charmed can be interpreted as a postfeminist text in popular culture. Yvonne Tasker and Diane Negra’s book “Interrogating Post Feminism: Gender and the Politics of Popular Culture” (2007) discusses the importance of post feminism in contemporary popular culture. In this book, Tasker and Negra focus mainly on film, television and advertising. According to the article “The Myth of Postfeminism”, the United States entered a postfeminist era around 1990. (Hall, J. E. (2003) p. 878) In America Charmed was television series which ran from 1998 up until 2006. Post-feminism, also known as third wave feminism emerged after second wave feminism and was a response to what second wave feminism excluded. The shows central characters are three sisters who are witches, the show is hailed as a feminist text because of its portrayal of strong female characters, and the fact the...

Words: 926 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

How Has Feminism Attempted to Achieve Women’s Liberation, and Has the Battle Been Won?

...How has feminism attempted to achieve women’s liberation, and has the battle been won? This essay aims to outline how feminism has and continues its attempt to achieve women’s liberation.This essay will reflect the current situation in Europe. The essay begins by describing the first and second wave of feminism, providing an overview of the ideas of some important feminist thinkers and activists. It then introduces the third wave, modern feminism and concludes with some remarks regarding the development of feminism insofar as it affects modern organizations willing to tackle gender inequality. The concept defined as the ‘first wave of feminism’ finds it origins in the mid-nineteenth century, with the ‘suffragettes’—as those pioneers were called—and their struggle to achieve equal political rights. These women’s central aim was to obtain the right to vote, even if that meant they had to protest through various hunger strikes, as they did in London. The ‘second wave of feminism’ focused on ending all forms of sexism, and it fought both psychological and sexual oppression towards women. Among others, Betty Friedan realized that women felt frustrated due to the oppression that came from their perceived role in society, namely that of staying at home. The patriarchal culture started to be criticized by many radical feminists. This second wave was very marked by Simone De Beauvoir and her work, The Second Sex. She believed “one is not born a woman, one becomes one”. Eva Figes wrote...

Words: 1171 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Answering the Opposition

...Answering the opposition What was your initial reaction to Limbaugh’s claim that, “feminism was established so that unattractive women could have easier access to the mainstream of society? My first reaction was that he went a little bit too far with that statement, I think unattractive women and attractive women could have or not have an easier access to the mainstream of society as any men too. ” What are two of Limbaugh’s main points? The first main point is the fact that women today have more power even though the biological fact that male are the aggressors is true, but women have the power to make decisions when it comes to a “yes” or “no” response. With women having the power, this will confuse men about what is right and what kind of behavior is acceptable when it comes to real rape and real harassment. When it comes to real rape and real harassment, people have their own interruptions of both. His sub claim is approached by people who are characterized as normal; male-female conduct as sexual harassment then people not only identifies the relations between the sexes, but interprets true sexual harassment. The other point is that people who define modern Feminism by different perspectives on normal deportment that is said to be harassment, near rape, abuse and disrespect. The feminist support leaders are attempting to make the case that any expression of interest by a man in a woman is harassment. By the group attempting to go with the case will lead to many problems...

Words: 727 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Should Mary Wollstonecraft and Hannah More Be Defined as Feminists?

...ideology, there is not a defining answer as to what feminism means. The Oxford English Dictionary defines feminism as the “advocacy of equality of the sexes and the establishment of the political, social, and economic rights of the female sex”. The term ‘feminist’ itself has been used in the United Kingdom since the 1880s but it’s philosophy had been dated back centuries before. Since then it’s meaning has evolved into different branches from radical feminism to liberal feminism for example, and is used on a political platform. It is fact that both Mary Wollstonecraft and Hannah More are examples of women who philosophised about women’s rights and their place in society. They both produced published works discussing women in society focused upon educational reform, and many have debated the extent to which they should be considered feminists. However, although their views contradicted each other, based on the modern day definition of feminism, both Wollstonecraft and More should be considered feminists for numerous reasons. Firstly, it is indisputable that Mary Wollstonecraft was a feminist and even as far to be considered as the “founder of western feminism”. In Wollstonecraft’s writings, a new female value is consciously introduced and effectively infused into a movement across the late eighteenth century. There are many books that focus on Wollstonecraft’s thought alone as they all depict the influences and meanings of feminism to Wollstonecraft. They all commonly convey significance...

Words: 2199 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

A Room of One's Own

...BIOGRAPHY Virginia Woolf, an English author, feminist, essayist and critic, was born on January 25th, 1882 to Sir Leslie Stephen, the editor of Dictionary of National Biography, and Madam Julia Prinsep Stephen, a nurse who published a book on nursing. Virginia’s maiden name was Adeline Virginia Woolf. She grew up in an atmosphere conducive to her future career as a writer since her father, Leslie Stephen, was a respected and well-known intellectual and writer. Although she was not sent to a university as her brothers, she was able to educate herself thoroughly by delving into the volumes of her father's vast library. Woolf grew up during a period of intense feminist activity in London and was an active member of various women's organizations. By the time she came into her own as a writer, significant advances had been made in women's rights. By 1918, a limited franchise had been granted to women in England. During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a member of the Bloomsbury Group. Her mother’s sudden death in 1885 and that of Stella, her sister whom she looked up to as a mother were the catalysts for Virginia’s mental breakdown. Modern scholars have suggested that her mental breakdown and subsequent recurring depression were as a result of the sexual abuse which she and her sister Vanessa were subjected to by their half brothers, George and Gerald Duckworth. Virginia married Leonard Woolf, a journalist, in 1912 and they collaborated...

Words: 2725 - Pages: 11

Premium Essay


...Abstract Feminism has evolved over the years; it is no longer solely focused on suffrage or other forms of institutionalized sexism. The focus today is the personal experiences women face which are characterized by issues such as reproductive rights, sexuality, and domestic violence. Feminism hopes to do away with generalizations for men and women that were created in earlier generations. The present article sought to identify and explain the characteristics of the three major sociological paradigms, a) the function of women in society, b) the conflict women experience in society, c) the symbolic interaction that each gender have with one another. The studies presented have been known to be the most recent and reliable research performed on feminism. Feminism “The feminist ideal seems simple: it is a movement fighting for gender equality. As neutral as its definition sounds, the movement has unfortunately at points been exploited as the female agenda to take over the world.” (Tasnim Ahmed , 2015) Feminism has evolved over the years but it all started back in the 18th century. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, an author in the 18th century, wrote an essay titled, “A Vindication of the Right of Woman” which entailed arguments for a woman’s right to an education. Wollstonecraft’s essay predates modern feminism, which can be divided into three waves (Carl, 2011, p.200). In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the first wave began which revolved mostly around the women’s suffrage...

Words: 1052 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

The Women's Movement

...The women’s rights movement was a huge turning point for women because they had succeeded in the altering of their status as a group and changing their lives of countless men and women. Gender, Ideology, and Historical Change: Explaining the Women’s Movement was a great chapter because it explained and analyzed the change and causes of the women’s movement. Elaine Tyler May’s essay, Cold War Ideology and the Rise of Feminism and Women’s Liberation and Sixties Radicalism by Alice Echols both gave important but different opinions and ideas about the women’s movement. Also, the primary sources reflect a number of economic, cultural, political, and demographic influences on the women’s movement. This chapter really explains how the Cold War ideologies, other protests and the free speech movements occurring during this time helped spark the rise or the women’s right’s movements. In Cold War Ideology and the Rise of Feminism by Elaine Tyler May, May examines the impact of political changes on American families, specifically the relationship of a Cold War ideology and the ideal of domesticity in the 1960s. May believed that with security as the common thread, the Cold War ideology and the domestic revival reinforced each other. Personal adaption, rather than political resistance, characterized the era. However, postwar domesticity never fully delivered on its promises because the baby-boom children who grew up in suburban homes abandoned the containment ethos when...

Words: 2090 - Pages: 9

Free Essay


...PURDAH _____________________________________________________________________ Using Imtiaz Dharker’s collection Purdah, this essay will attempt to question the understanding or imagining of religious and cultural structures in reference to their effects—intellectual, emotional and spiritual— Islamic women. The first part of the essay will delve intodifferent viewpoints concerning feminism and Islam. The second shall attempt to juxtapose the opinions of traditional Islamic religious fundamentalists and those of social activists. There are a variety of themes which bring out these opinions via the help of Dharker’s collection. These themes lead us to question these opinions which may or may not hold true. [EDIT] _____________________________________________________________________ 1 Fundamentally, “the word ‘Purdah’ is used as a title for the set of injunctions which constitute the most important part of the Islamic system of community life. (Al-Ash’ari, 19) Purdah is the result of the “feudal ruler’s concept of izzat(honour-here used in the sense of inviolable feminine chastity)” This concept of izzat and its protection by men itself implied male superiority. It’s essential message was that woman needed to be protected and that man was her protector” (Asghar Ali Engineer,6) Hence, the men put ‘their’ women in Purdah and in doing so emphasized their dominance over women. In order for women to protect their...

Words: 1560 - Pages: 7