To express in a creative way what I have learned in Global Feminisms this semester, I have put together a collage of images. This collage is meant to represent what I have learned about privilege and power dynamics across the world. In the upper right quadrant of the collage, I used a Barbara Kruger … Read more
Who runs the world? According to Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter, its us, women. Often referred to as ‘Queen B,’ over the years Beyonce has most certainly and successfully made a place for herself in the music industry and in the hearts of many. The title ‘Queen B’ itself screams of authority, power and respect. Beyonce’s songs … Read more
Introduction Lee Maracle’s Bobbi Lee Indian Rebel reveals the untold narrative of Indigenous women in Canada. The book is styled in as an autobiography and follows the life a young Indigenous woman plagued with challenges of poverty, addiction and oppression. Taking place mainly in Toronto Lee Maracle describes the up rise of activism on issues … Read more
“Feminism is notoriously difficult as it was never a uniform set of ideas: the aims and character of feminist struggles were hotly contested from the outset” (Hollows, 2000: 3) The conflict between the quest for gender equality and the desire for sexual liberation has long been a challenge for feminism. Feminists have found themselves on … Read more
Imagine a society where the only use of women is to repopulate society, where a woman’s worth is essentially determined by her ovaries. This frightening scenario is a reality in Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. Atwood wrote The Handmaid’s Tale in response to the hostile political climate of the 1980s. The book portrays women … Read more
In this essay, I would like to introduce two artists and their artwork of my choice, and the Feminist Art Theory and talk about their strengths and weaknesses. To do this I will use my knowledge and resources that I have acquired during the Art Now course, and in my own time researching. I am … Read more
Articles Krahulik, Karen C. “Sisterhood Revisited during the Second Wave of Feminism.” Reviews in American History, vol. 37, no. 1, 2009, pp. 140–147. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/40210992. In this review, the author immediately address Hilary Clinton, the Presidential campaign she lost, and the overarching question that followed her loss: where does feminism go from here? From Hilary … Read more
The Women’s Liberation Movement (1960 – 1970) was regarded as the second upsurge of feminism in America. It was throughout that period that many of the standard rights that women enjoy today were enacted. After its establishment, the revolution managed to achieve two major milestones that set the pace. Its first major success was having … Read more
For every subject, there must be an object; this is the basis of the argument found in Simone de Beauvoir’s 1949 text The Second Sex. Drawing from the influence of Hegel, Beauvoir attempted to diagnose the secondary position of women in society through the concept of the ‘Other’. This essay will explain the argument central … Read more
“Okoloma looked at me and said, ‘You know, you’re a feminist.’ It was not a compliment. I could tell from his tone – the same tone with which a person would say, ‘You’re a supporter of terrorism,” said Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in her Ted Talk and then later, essay, We should all be Feminists (Adichie, … Read more
The stereotype of women passiveness rarely emphasizes the strengths behind staying silent. Isabel Allende writes with the perspective of magical, powerful women in 19th century Chile where they face the constraints of the patriarchy. The plot of the novel centers around the female family members of each generation. They tell their story and their hardships … Read more
Feminism is constituted as a current of thought that brings together a set of movements and ideologies, both political and cultural and economic, that seek to achieve gender equity and the transformation of power relations between the sexes. It could be understood that this political and social movement seeks to make women -as a human … Read more
The feminist movement that started out with the suffragettes has gone through multiple waves of changes to become what it is today. From the fight for women’s political rights to the modern discourse on gender and sexuality, the impact of feminism has extended well beyond the Western shores to the Third World. In this essay, … Read more
The women’s rights movement of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries unified women around a number of issues that were seen as fundamental rights for all citizens; they included: the right to own property, access to higher education, reproductive rights, and women’s suffrage. Feminism is clearly stated as, “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis … Read more
Introduction The women’s suffrage movement and the abolitionists used to work together towards the same goal: suffrage and enfranchisement, or in other words full citizenship. But after the Civil war there was a split both within the women’s movement and between the abolitionists and the woman’s suffrage movement. Part of the women’s movement gave up … Read more
1.0 Introduction For my case study I will be looking at women’s representation in video games and the over sexualised way they are represented. From the birth of the industry, females have always been underrepresented. Not only in the real world but females often played the role of background characters offering no real difference to … Read more
In the wake of the increasingly popular feminist movement in modern USA, is masculinity and masculine history becoming increasingly repressed? Synopsis: This piece aims to investigate if masculinity is being repressed in contemporary American society. By drawing on contentions made mostly by accredited historian Michael Kimmel’s ‘Manhood in America,’ which outlines the course of masculine … Read more
Feminist organizational behaviour is a field of study that investigates the impact of individual men, groups of men, and masculinist values and ideas on behaviour within organizations, for the purpose of identifying and addressing sexual discrimination. Cultural and social factors are the major factors of gender disparity. Before industrial evolution, in many patriarchal societies, women … Read more
Introduction Historically, not unlike the rest of the world, women in Indian advertisements were objectified or portrayed as shy and dependent on men and needing validation from them (Dr.A.Krishna et.al, 2015). The roots of gender inequality in India are usually traced back to a society that has been brought up to heavily revere patriarchy and … Read more
The film The Accused emphasizes the importance of a feminist view of the American legal system. The film debunks myths about a rxxe or a rxxe-victim. The feminist perspective towards the justice system in the United States, states that it is patriarchal in nature and inclined towards the likes and dislikes of men. Historically, American … Read more
The trends of early women’s rights campaigns and feminist organizations have created the modern world of feminism. The initial wave of feminism found roots in violence, social organizations and conventions to rattle the authority and bring women’s rights issues into the light. Those philosophies are deep-seeded in today’s marches, campaigns, and international holidays. As Coretta … Read more
It has been said about V.S. Naipaul’s novel Miguel Street that “One of the recurrent themes… is the ideal of manliness” (Kelly 19). To help put into focus what manliness is, it is important to establish a definition for masculinity as well as its opposite, femininity. Masculinity is defined as “Having qualities regarded as characteristic … Read more
Introduction Gender equality, as most other types of equality, is a fundamental human right. When speaking of gender equality, one fundamentally speaks of equal opportunity (de jure) and equality of outcome (de facto). Both, procedural equality and substantive equality together will make up an individual’s right to equality. Gender issues have been around since the … Read more
This essay aims to discuss the contribution theorists have made to the sociological perspectives of the conflict theory of Feminism and of the micro theory of Internationalism. Feminism focuses on female oppression, gender and patriarchy, whilst Interactionism examines interaction and the process by which an individual has become to be defined a particular way. The … Read more
Power never resides in a single person’s hands. It is not observed in any obvious manner, but rather a devious idea that inhibits our imagination and renders obedience. For example, in a business setting, power is passed from the top downward. Its passing is an indirect circulation of power in each department. For instance, the … Read more
The Disney movie “Frozen” instantly took over the hearts of little girls across the nation. The very popular Disney movie depicts two sisters, Anna and Elsa, who must work together to save their kingdom of Arendelle. They face many challenges through journey but thanks to the help of several male supporting characters, the two sisters … Read more
For many scholars, gender constitutes the primary focus of their research. Political scientists can and regularly do consider the effect of gender independently from other variables in their research, but viewing gender as a stand-alone factor distorts reality. Gender never acts independently from other aspects of our identity, such as our race, class, and ethnicity, … Read more
Black Feminism emerged in the late 1960s in response to the alienation that black women faced in their fight for equality. Social movements like the Women’s Rights Movement, which was mostly led by middle-class women, as well as the Black Power Movement, primarily advocated by black men, failed to be inclusive towards black women. According … Read more
The horror genre has been repeatedly criticized in a feminist framework for its sexualization and objectification of women through the perpetuation of enlightened sexism, a phenomenon regarding how media represents women as having attained sexual, economic, and social equality with men but actually reinforces a gender binary (Clover, 1996; Douglas, 2010; Shaw & Lee, 2015). … Read more
For the Women’s Studies 100: Introduction to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Activist Project, our group decided to focus on the portrayal of gender roles in American television and film and how they have changed over time since the existence of pre-codes. This topic closely relates to a broader theme, media and culture, which has … Read more
2018 marks the 100 year anniversary of women gaining the vote in the UK, while women in the US have had the vote since 1920. However, there is so much more to gender equality than merely gaining equal voting rights, and in the past century or so women have used three main methods within the … Read more
FEMINISM: Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English “Movement for recognition of the claims of women for rights (legal, political, etc) equal to those possessed by men”  English Oxford Living Dictionaries Online “The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of equality of the sexes”  English Oxford Living Dictionaries Online “The theory of … Read more
Mina Loy’s poetry was a polemic against women’s inequality, including their segregation in cultural practices and social norms. ‘Feminist Manifesto’ and ‘Songs to Joannes’ offer an original and deeply personal take on the mounting pressure Loy felt to conform to her gender norms. She encouraged women to be honest with their sexuality, as Loy believed … Read more
It is well understood that in today’s society the feminist movement is significantly prevalent in the media and has spread rapidly across the world. Social media has created a gateway for users to express their opinions and viewpoints on the topic freely through the use of hashtags. #ToTheGirls, #MeToo, and #EverydaySexism have caught the attention … Read more
Feminism is not a term that can be easy defined, as it interpreted in many different ways. In the most basic interpretation it is someone who believes that women are not treated equally because of their sex, and that change is required to correct this discrimination and satisfy the needs that are being neglected. Many … Read more
Race, gender, sexuality. Social equality, women’s suffrage, equal wages. Reproductive rights, sexual harassment, domestic violence. Such words are among the first to come to mind at the very mention of feminism. These are the topics that most commonly inspire the colorfully decorated signs and posters that carry compelling opinions and empowering declarations of the fight … Read more
The first few weeks of this course have taught me so much more than I even knew existed about the concept of “gender” and its role in a women’s life writing. I took this class because I understand how important feminism is in today’s world and as I am becoming a more contributing member of … Read more
Introduction This essay will focus on gender issues in sport, in particular, on rugby and the reasons why there is less female participation in this sport compared to male participation. The essay uses the relational approach to feminism to explain this. In 2009 Sport England did a survey which showed the participation rates in rugby … Read more
Rough Draft As images of San Bernadino shooter Tashfeen Malik juxtapose horrific images of a veiled woman stoned to death in Pakistan, the media currently offers endless affirmation for non-Muslim Americans to justify Islamophobic rhetoric and fear. Images of Arab and Muslim women presented by the media semiotically work to reinforce historically situated and often … Read more
Anna Goldsworthy’s “Sex, Freedom, and Misogyny” quarterly essay presents an argument about the relevance of feminism in today’s society, which proposes whether sexist and misogynistic behaviours like these are generally accepted by the Australian public, or if ‘pulling the gender card’ is now a baseline tactic for a losing argument. The tone of the essay … Read more
Basic Information Margaret Atwood wrote The Handmaid’s Tale from the years of 1984 to 1985, and since its publication the book has never been out of print. She was born on the 18th of November,1939 in Ottawa, Canada (Atwood, par. 4). Being the daughter of a forest entomologist, she spent her childhood in the woods … Read more
In Differencing: Feminism’s Encounter with the Canon, Griselda Pollock discusses the ways in which feminism has entered Art Historical discourse. Historically, the place of women in art’s history has been minimal compared to that of men. Pollock highlights that the recognised History of Art is in fact a history of art created by and for … Read more
Feminism in Islam has been thought to be practically non-existent and something off-limits to the women in Muslim countries. This is most likely due to the stereotypes that numerous cultures have built up concerning women and their opinions of equality amongst the men in their countries. However, contrary to popular belief, feminism in Muslim countries … Read more
It has been a difficult challenge for women throughout history and it’s horrifying to realize that not much has changed. There aren’t many signs of change for the future considering how the media has made little attempts to reshape their ideas of what is important for the children of tomorrow. The media has set in … Read more
Media has been growing for a numerous amount of years, and it will only keep rising. You could say that nearly everyone around you has some sort of technological device or way in which they can access the media, these are what we call print, audio visual and on-line media. Print media includes things such … Read more
The feminist movement has improved conditions for women globally; however, it is still a work in progress. While the movement has helped women be in positions and roles thought to be gender specific and breaking those barriers, they’re still are a prominent issue in this generation. To say that the objective of feminism has been … Read more
Unit 2 Assignment – Feminism Ever since I heard of the word feminist/feminism, which would be a few years ago, I’ve since then considered myself as a feminist. I would even call myself a hardcore feminist considering how much I talk about it and how passionately I’d argue with people who had their thoughts about … Read more
The idea of gender theory was first introduced in 1981, asserting that children learn about male and female roles through the culture around them. Unlike other ideas, Sandra Bern’s Gender Schema Theory remains selfsame in a world where everything is rapidly changing. For example, cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, and child rearing have been associated with … Read more
‘The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes’ (Oxford Dictionaries, n.d.) is how the Oxford English dictionary describes the term ‘feminism’, this simply cannot suffice; one is left unknowing of the 200 plus years of women, and men alike, fighting for the ‘second sex’(Beauvoir, 1949 (1997)) to stand alongside … Read more
John Stuart Mill; a famous influential British philosopher from the nineteenth century was one of the last systematic philosophers who made significant contributions in logic, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political ideology, and social theory. He was a public figure who articulated on liberal platforms, pushed for various liberal reforms while serving on a seat in parliament. … Read more
Introduction George Orwell’s classic novel 1984 directs us to review our understanding of a dystopian world, to challenge our beliefs, and warns against the power of totalitarianism. He writes about the government controlling everything in the fictional country of Oceania, where the leadership abuses its power by controlling people’s thoughts and actions through fear and … Read more
The Civil and women’s rights movement had a lot in common but also portrayed several differences. These movements not only were developed differently but also had the same vision of fighting for equality. In America, justice was a virtue that was always embraced in America. Between the years 1950s to 1960’s the civil rights movement … Read more
Hedda Gabler is the one of Henrik Ibsen’s work. It was published in 1890. The play represents a woman, who is stuck between the ideal woman and the truth. Ibsen questioned the 19th-century’s(the Victorian period) society rules. He attacks that system and women’s conditions in society. That period’s women are called as old woman in … Read more
The area of literary masculinity studies in general – and Victorian masculinity studies in particular – has come into its own zenith in the past twenty to thirty years. While it would not be accurate to say that masculinity studies have gained equal footing in studies on gender issues, the inclusion of examinations of masculinity … Read more
The socialist feminist research has been stimulating and challenging of established notions and ideologies. ‘Feminist’ social policy has done an important job in developing new concepts for studying welfare state variation. The idea of children as just dependents versus the idea of children been understood as individuals with their own set of rights began to … Read more
Throughout her life as a poet, Christina Rossetti was not recognized as a feminist writer. However, her work continuously examined the many different relationships among women and the limitations that female writers dealt with. Even though most of her views were formed through her religious beliefs, some of Christina Rossetti’s works were critical of the … Read more
Introduction. Since the 1970s, Feminist art practice has been at the very forefront of social and political discourse. From Carolee Schneemann to the Guerrilla Girls the targeting and exposing of inequality between male and female counterparts in Western Society has earned its value within the art world. Through my studio practice I focus greatly … Read more
In advertising women have consistently been exposed in clichéd ways, and more often than not, the use of female imagery in advertising has been used as bait to sell a product or brand. Although, the modern mindset on gender is moving much faster than it ever has and the way the public and media view … Read more
Question: Write a 1200 word essay that discusses and explains how the interrelationship(s) of a system, artefact and people necessitate social functions, regulate social relations and gives meaning to human activity. The systems of fashion, feminism and gender correlate with the people and the artefact of my choice, corsets, when discussing how they necessitate … Read more
Are short skirts and dresses the reason leading to gruesome crimes like rape and molestation? Is freedom of expression a living feat yet? Freedom of expression is the openness of communication that includes the right to be free without deliberately causing harm to another. It is one of the many subsets that come under the … Read more
The roots of the western civilization lie in the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome. The western civilization took shape in Europe during the Medieval Ages with its Christian religion and feudal structure but it did not take full form until the modern era and it developed an economic strength that surpassed the economies of … Read more
1. Introduction In regards to this essay will be discussing cultural social construction of men and women making reference to South African issues or content. It will be looking at a number of issues as well that contribute to social constriction in men and women and how the society views social construction. 2. Cultural social … Read more
To what extent was the WLM a racially exclusive movement which failed to engage with issues of race? Main question: ‘The desire for equality, the struggle for social justice and the vision of universal sisterhood was the consuming unidirectional project of white (socialist) feminism throughout the 1970s and early 1980s.’ To what extent is this … Read more
In 1984, Valerie Amos and Pratibha Parmar wrote, ‘white, mainstream feminist theory, be it from the socialist feminist or radical feminist perspective, does not speak to the experiences of Black women and where it attempts to do so it is often from a racist perspective and reasoning.’ This has become the general consensus within the … Read more
‘I am a feminist, and what that means to me is much the same as the meaning of the fact that I am Black: it means that I must undertake to love myself and to respect myself as though my very life depends upon self-love and self-respect.’ ‘ June Jordan The position of black American … Read more
Islam, heavenly admission is a monotheistic religion of spiritual fact, internal well-lit, of love, of human brotherhood and social fairness. Open to all races and all peoples without distinction, to men and women all countries and all ages, whatever the degree of their knowledge and the rank of their fortune. It implies faith in a … Read more
Feminists are all about breaking the gender roles that society has set in place for us. These roles include having a man as the provider of the family and the woman as a delicate flower that needs to be provided for. Feminists would rather be independent than to have to rely on a man. But … Read more
Introduction This essay consists of brief and critical introduction to the study, and firstly it introduces the novelist, secondly, the brief background of the study, major characters, plot and themes of novel. 1.1 Introduction to Burnt Shadows Novel Kamaila Shamsie, one of the well known literary figures of present time is very much famous for … Read more
Feminism, as defined by Barbara Goodwin “is about the oppression of women by men”, however the term ‘oppression’ may be considered as exaggerated as over the years’ women have been appearing as fundamental figures within various fields, such as the political one by acting as ambassadors, generals and Prime Ministers. According to Karen Offen, the term “Feminism” originated in France during the late 19th century and thus it may be considered as a “relatively new term”. Such doctrine however, since its early stages, has always been associated with the ways in which women are disadvantaged within societies and how to achieve equality amongst men and women.
When talking about the theory of Feminism one must be careful in the way he or she refers to the character of women. As a matter of fact, as stated in Peter Barry’s Beginning Theory there are different definitions and interpretations for each word: when referring to the term ‘female’ one is talking about biology, whilst when using the word ‘feminine’ one is referring to the cultural aspect. Lastly when using the expression ‘Feminist’ one is clearly denoting a political matter. Within this parenthesis, human nature has to be taken into consideration, and placing under question whether ‘female human nature’ differs from the male one or if it is universal, results as fundamental. By acknowledging the presence of biological differences then it is appropriate to refer to them as the origin and the source of women’s oppression. However, as argued by all Feminists “the only politically correct conclusion is that inequalities between the sexes have been socially constructed according to patriarchal norms”. Furthermore, if we leave aside the concept of ‘constructed gender’ it is possible to say that both feminine and masculine forms are artificially constructed based on false biological distinctions and that the ‘demarcation lines’ of gender can be easily challenged as they’re not fixed.
Despite the fact that already in Ancient Greece women weren’t satisfied with the way in which they were treated, it was not until the late 19th century that a series of stable and concrete Feminist movements began developing. The ‘first wave’ of feminism emerged in those years within a liberal and socialist political environment and had as primary target that of achieving equal opportunities for women, with a special emphasis on suffrage. Due to the waves’ main goal, examinations on the differences between men and women within the social and political field began: as a result some stated that as women were morally superior than men they should have a greater role in the public sphere whilst other understood the real meaning of equality and demanded their presence in these field.
Following both World War One and World War Two, Feminism received more attention through the establishment of the ‘second wave’ which began around the 1960’s. Within this wave, reproductive rights and sexuality were the leading issues as self-consciousness was growing due to the anti-war and civil rights movements present at the time. Feminists began understanding that the sources of the problem of inequality were linked to patriarchy as well as capitalism and that gender and the socially constructed stereotypes were the issue and not the biological differences between the sexes. One of the main distinctions between the first and second wave was that whilst in the first case the movement was generally driven by middle class white women, the second wave was propelled by women of color who sought for solidarity by stating that women’s struggle was also linked to class struggle.
Post-colonial and Post-modern thinking influenced particularly the development of the ‘third wave’ of Feminist movements which took place in the mid 1990’s and which challenged the issues of gender, body and sexuality. Key aspect that brings distance between this wave and the two previous ones is the strength with which women went against patriarchy and empowered their beauty for themselves as subjects and not as objects. Furthermore, this wave underlines within its policy how differences related to class, ethnicity and sexual orientation must be celebrated and how the distinction between gender and the terms “us” and “them” must be rejected.
With the development of new technologies and the means brought by the phenomenon of globalization it can be said that the internet gave the opportunity for the ‘fourth wave’ of feminism to establish itself. Even if some argue that the high rate of usage of the internet isn’t enough to determine a new wave based upon the Feminist ideology, it has to be taken into consideration that the internet has facilitated the establishment of a global community of Feminists who regularly discuss and take action online. Moreover there is proof that thanks to globalization, the use of new technologies and social networks such as Twitter is currently increasing, especially in areas where women still face injustices and this is for them the only way to be proactive and make a valuable contribution to their society. In point of fact within the Turkish State women all together make up 72% of social media users whilst in the US, with the web campaign United States of Women, Feminists are raising awareness day by day, as well as taking action through online movements and online debates.
Even if within this doctrine all Feminists aim to attain gender equality, there are different beliefs in the ways in which this should be achieved. These differences may be seen by analyzing the different strands of feminism. As a matter of fact, liberal Feminists aim to overcome oppression through equality, believing that “liberal rights should be fully and equally extended to women” thus supporting the concept of ‘sameness’. Liberal Feminists aim to re-evaluate the mainstream theory in which women are considered as ‘second-rate’ men and instead introduce an egalitarian process which proves that women can do what men can do. Socialist Feminists instead think that only with socialism women’s liberation will be reached as it is part of the class struggle. Differently radical Feminists argue that a “radical restructuring of social organization” is necessary for sexual oppression. This strand however, has received various critiques as, instead of demanding equality, radical Feminist believe in their own superiority and perceive to be intrinsically pre-eminent thus they should have not what men have but instead they should have more. Lastly Postmodern Feminists use the insights of postmodernism to understand and enquiry the norms based on gender. As a matter of fact this last strand doesn’t believe neither in sameness nor in diversity but simply focuses its analysis on the question of the organization and the effects of power. Overall, even if there are different strands of feminism which believe in diverse paths to obtain their goals, all those who fight in Feminist movements are constantly challenging gender, oppression and patriarchy. In point of fact, as stated by Eisenstein: “For equality to exist between men and women, the structure of patriarchy must be destroyed”.
Since the beginning, women understood that if they would have ever achieved equality, they would have had to change the public policy, hence stand together in solidarity to prove that societies were wrong. “Challenging and changing female sexist thinking was the first step towards creating the powerful sisterhood” that constituted the second wave of Feminists. Indeed, the unity amongst all Feminists has its origins in the shared commitment to struggle against patriarchy and social injustices by undermining sexisms. Furthermore, Feminist sisterhood resulted in a great success as women had the courage to cross boundaries of both race and class and join together to use their power against discriminations. Through this unison women within the years have been able to achieve certain objectives and result successful in obtaining their goals.
The right to vote is and was one of the main targets achieved by the Feminist movements. New Zealand was the first country that lived through the universal suffrage in 1893, followed by Australia in the subsequent year. Within the years women around the world started gaining such right, however this battle wasn’t always immediate and the Feminist movements with strength and tenacity in some cases had to go through terrible conflicts and rebellions. Nonetheless in some states women saw the option of voting just in the recent years: Switzerland granted the universal suffrage in 1971, whilst Kuwaiti allowed equality in voting just in 2005. However, one of the worst scenarios regarding the universal suffrage took place in Saudi Arabia, where the government permitted women to vote just in 2015. Through the establishment of the new reforms, the female figure has been able to participate within the public life and have the right to express her own beliefs. In the United Kingdom, women’s suffrage became a national issue during the 19th century. Initially women weren’t banned from voting but with the establishment of the Reform Act in 1832 such right was officially denied to them. However in 1872, England saw the formation of the National Society for Women’s Suffrage which fought for women’s equality, but it wasn’t until the end of the First World War that, through the passing of the Representation of the People Act in 1918 women over the age of 30 gained the right to vote. It took the Conservative government other ten years to pass the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act which officially gave the vote to all women over 21, eventually extended to all men and women over 18 in 1969.
Another great success achieved by the Feminist movements is the right to access education. Within the years, studies have been carried out in order to understand the main reasons that prevent girls from going to school; school-based violence, child marriage and discriminatory gender norms where the most frequent ones proving how the issue is linked to gendered and sexist matters. Nonetheless action has been taken and the ‘Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women’ took further steps to grant education to girls. According to this reform all states have the duty to do all of the necessary to eliminate discrimination and reach equality amongst sexes. Furthermore, States must assure same conditions for access to studies and same quality of education to both boys and girls. Feminist movements with their demonstrations and their demands were able to determine the participation of various associations, such as the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education and the Convention on the Rights of the Child , to their battle. Despite the various achievements obtained by Feminists, universal education is not yet a global norm: girls and women continue to be discriminated in accessing education. Even if in Western countries women have outperformed men within the levels of education – in the US in 2007 women received 62% of associate degrees and 60% of doctorates – the worldwide situation is still critic: 31 million girls over 57 million children aren’t attending schools and two thirds of illiterate adults are women.
Early on, Feminists placed attention not only in the public sphere with issues linked to the right to vote and the possibility to participate in the daily political and social life but also within the private field. Private bonds and domestic relationships were analyzed and resulted in clear examples of male domination and patriarchal interactions. As a matter of fact, until 1923 the only ground for divorce was adultery; even if there was proof of domestic violence and daily beatings the status of the marriage wouldn’t change unless the wife would betray the husband and thus he could request a divorce, as well as denying her of all of her properties and her children. The big change came in 1969 where Feminist movements proved their success and gained the right to divorce when the Divorce Reform Act was passed. Feminist movements have placed all their efforts in trying to obtain greater cultural awareness regarding domestic violence however such matter is still ongoing despite the progress within divorce. Most Feminists believe that it is crucial to have a prevailing agenda whose goal is to end all forms of violence, however theorists are aware that it isn’t a matter that can be stopped through the public sphere but it has to start from the private. In point of fact, most cases of domestic violence aren’t reported because of the fear propagated by the patriarchal relationship within the private sphere.
Vibrant achievement of the Feminist movements is the establishment of various associations that have as central goal that of the protection of the female figure. First in chronological order is the National Organization for Women, also known as NOW, which was founded in 1966 by 28 women during the Third National Conference of Commissions on the Status of Women. As written in the organization’s Statement of Purpose, NOW’s main resolution is “to take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of society, exercising all privileges and responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men”. Of equal importance is the establishment of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) which took place in 2010. UN Women’s main thematic areas include political participation, ending violence, peace and security and economic empowerment. Clear similarities may be seen between the aims of these associations and the Feminist movements.
Feminist movements have their origins in the 19th century and since then women have tried to achieve equality with their opposite sex. Differences can be established between the various waves of feminism that developed within the centuries as well as amongst the diverse strands and their ideologies. Nonetheless all Feminists come together in sisterhood as they all fight for what they believe in. Proof of the collective force with which they fought their battles are the various achievements reached within the years: the right to vote, the right to access education and the right to divorce. Furthermore, with the creation of various associations the path to equality has been flattened giving hope to all the women. Overall, one of the most important aspects of the Feminist movements is the strength and power that brings all the women together in facing critiques and challenging social injustices, showing how the will to change and the will to create the context for liberation and equality is fiercer than anything else.