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Feminist suffrage parade in New York City, May 6, 1912.

The feminist movement (also known as the Women's Movement, Women's Liberation, or simply, Women's Lib) is a series of campaigns on issues such as reproductive rights (sometimes including abortion), domestic violence, maternity leave, equal pay, voting rights, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. The goals of the movement vary from country to country, e.g. opposition to female genital cutting in Sudan, or to the glass ceiling in Western countries.


The history of feminist movements has been divided into three "waves" by feminist scholars. Each is described as dealing with different aspects of the same feminist issues. The first wave refers to the feminism movement of the 18th through early 20th centuries, which dealt mainly with the Suffrage movement. Writers such as Virginia Woolf are associated with the ideas of the First Wave of feminism. In her book A Room of One’s Own , Woolf “describes how men socially and psychically dominate women". The argument of the book is that “women are simultaneously victims of themselves as well as victims of men and are upholders of society by acting as mirrors to men” She recognizes the social constructs that restrict women in society and uses literature to contextualize it for other women.

The second wave (1960s-1980s) dealt gender inequality in laws and culture. It built upon the established goals of the First Wave and began to adapt the ideas to American culture. Simone De Beauvoir is very much associated with this wave because of her idea of women as “the other”. This idea was touched upon in the writing of Virginia Woolf and was adapted to apply not only to the gender roles of women in the household or at work, but their sexuality as well. Beauvoir set the tone for later Feminist theory ( The Third wave of Feminism (1990s-current), is seen as both a continuation and a response to the perceived failures of the Second-wave.

In addition to “responding” to the Second Wave, the Third Wave was less of a reaction to current events and more a focus on developing the different achievements of women in America. The Feminist Movement grew during the Third Wave of feminism to incorporate a greater number of women who may not have previously identified with the dynamic and goals that were established at the start of the movement. Although criticized as purely an addition to the Second Wave, the Third Wave very much holds its own additions to the Feminist Movement as a whole. In order to explore the history, events, and structure of the Feminist movement it is imperative to explore different figures, specific protests and demonstrations, as well as the transformation in American culture as a whole. The feminist movement is essentially one that has worked and continues to work against the status quo in American society. According to bell hooks, “Feminism is a struggle against sexist oppression. Therefore, it is necessarily a struggle to eradicate the ideology of domination that permeates Western culture on various levels, as well as a commitment to reorganizing society so that the self-development of people can take precedence over imperialism, economic expansion and material desires.”

America’s culture is one that is measured on a patriarchal scale. Countering these standards is part of the Feminist Movement’s agenda and, although differing during the progression of waves, it was a movement started to also challenge the political structure. In thinking of a social movement as a collective, organized, sustained, non-institutional challenge to authorities, power holders, or culture beliefs or practices it can be said the Feminist Movement in all aspects a large and long lasting social movement. This is assuming that a social movement must exist with more than one person and by all means the Feminist Movement is one that is multifaceted incorporating the efforts of individuals who may not have affiliated themselves with the movement yet helped the goals of the movement become attainable. There are examples of different groups who were part of the movement that rejected the institution of the American system of capitalism, however, the agenda of the First and Second waves worked with the American political system in order to gain more rights.

The feminist movement reaches far back before the 18th century, feminist movement were planted during the late part of that century. Christine de Pizan, a late medieval writer, was possibly the earliest feminist in the western tradition. She is believed to be the first woman to make a beautiful piece of writing. Feminist thought began to take a more substantial shape during The Enlightenment with such thinkers as Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and the Marquis de Condorcet championing women's education. The first scientific society for women was founded in Middelburgmarker, a city in the south of the Dutch republic, in 1785. Journals for women which focused on issues like science became popular during this period as well.

The period of feminist activity during the nineteenth century and early twentieth century in the United Kingdommarker and the United Statesmarker is referred to as the first wave of feminism. It was sometime in the 1920's when feminism died in the US. It focused primarily on gaining the right of women's suffrage. The term, "first-wave," was coined retrospectively after the term second-wave feminism began to be used to describe a newer feminist movement that focused as much on fighting social and cultural inequalities as further political inequalities.

In Britainmarker, the Suffragettes campaigned for the women's vote, which was eventually granted − to some women in 1918 and to all in 1928 − as much because of the part played by British women during the First World War, as of the efforts of the Suffragists. In the United Statesmarker leaders of this movement include Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, who each campaigned for the abolition of slavery prior to championing women's right to vote. Other important leaders include Lucy Stone, Olympia Brown, and Helen Pitts. American first-wave feminism involved a wide range of women, some belonging to conservative Christian groups (such as Frances Willard and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union), others resembling the diversity and radicalism of much of second-wave feminism (such as Stanton, Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage and the National Woman Suffrage Association, of which Stanton was president). In the United Statesmarker first-wave feminism is considered to have ended with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (1919) granting women the right to vote.

The women who made the first efforts towards women’s suffrage were those who came from the more stable and privileged backgrounds. In order to create change one must be in a position to dedicate time and energy into making change. The women previously mentioned worked very hard to attain the personal and collective goals. Their intentions benefited women in America, but not all women. The developments made for women were for those who belonged to the middle and upper class and were part of the White race. This was the dynamic of the beginning of the Feminist Movement in America. It was a specific agenda for a certain group of women.

The second wave of feminist activity began in the early 1960s and lasted through the late 1980s. What helped trigger this second wave was the book written by Betty Friedan. "The key event that marked the reemergence of this movement in the postwar era was the surprise popularity of Betty Friedan's 1963 book The Feminine Mystique. Writing as a housewife and mother (though she had had a long story of political activism, as well), Friedan described the problem with no name the dissatisfaction of educated, middle class wives and mothers like herself who, looking at their nice homes and families, wondered guiltily if that was all there was to life was not new; the vague sense of dissatifaction plaguing housewives was a staple topic for women's magazines in the 1950s. But Friedan, instead of blaming individual women for failing to adapt to women's proper role, blamed the role itself and the society that created it" (Norton, Mary Beth, A people A Nation pg 865. 2005 Houghton Mifflin Company New York.) During this time feminists campaigned against cultural and political inequalities. The movement encouraged women to understand aspects of their own personal lives as deeply politicized, and reflective of a sexist structure of power. If first-wave feminism focused upon absolute rights such as suffrage, second-wave feminism was largely concerned with other issues of equality, such as the end to discrimination. The feminist activist and author, Carol Hanisch coined the slogan "The Personal is Political" which became synonymous with the second wave. Second-wave feminists saw women's cultural and political inequalities as inextricably linked and encouraged women to understand aspects of their personal lives as deeply politicized and as reflecting sexist power structures.

In the early 1990s, a movement arose in response to the perceived failures of second wave feminism, it has been termed the "third wave". It is also described as a response to the backlash against initiatives and movements created by second-wave feminism. Feminist leaders rooted in the second wave like Gloria Anzaldua, bell hooks, Chela Sandoval, Cherrie Moraga, Audre Lorde, Maxine Hong Kingston, and many other feminists of color, called for a new subjectivity in feminist voice. They sought to negotiate prominent space within feminist thought for consideration of race related subjectivities. This focus on the intersection between race and gender remained prominent through the Hill-Thomas hearings, but began to shift with the Freedom Ride 1992. This drive to register voters in poor minority communities was surrounded with rhetoric that focused on rallying young feminists. For many, the rallying of the young is the emphasis that has stuck within third wave feminism. The different waves of feminism are not only reflective of the cultural evolution in American since the 1920s but it is also the way in which the Feminist Movement used different social movement tactics to encourage women in America to become active and motivate individuals to make change for the whole of women in America. Although the Feminist Movement has spanned almost a century there are ways in which to breakdown the timeline and recognize how women have framed the ways they have achieved different goals throughout history. It is “By rendering events or occurrences meaningful, frames function to organize experience and guide action, whether individual or collective” The Feminist Movement has been an ongoing presence in American culture and although some women might not have affiliated themselves with the movement their lives have been affected by the influence the movement has had on women’s roles in society. Inevitably women have had a part in this movement even if they do not call themselves feminists. It is very important to recognize that feminism has gone through its own transitions with the different waves. Primarily Women’s suffrage addressed white middle class women with a claim that they worked on behalf of women’s (in general) liberation. The specific group Women targeted at the beginning of the movement has changed as the movement has shifted its framing. The identity of the Feminist Movement cannot be determined by just one statement, however, that is what makes it such a dynamic social movement. The beginning of the Feminist movement was exclusive in that, “given such socialization, [oppressed] women have often felt that our only response to white, bourgeois, hegemonic dominance of feminist movement is to trash, reject, or dismiss feminism” Different groups of women did not feel a part of the Feminist Movement because they felt they were being excluded and oppressed by the dominant white women. According to David A. Snow and other sociologists “Value amplification refers to the identification, idealization, and elevation of one or more values presumed basic to prospective constituent but which have not inspired collective action for any number of reasons” (Snow 469). The three waves of Feminism that exist are examples of how values have been identified, shared, and transformed. The Feminist Movement has worked to redefine certain standards of its agenda in order to include a broader spectrum of people. For example the movement later included women of different races and sexual orientations. It was only in the fall of 1971 that NOW (National Organization of Women) “acknowledged, ‘the oppression of lesbians as a legitimate concern of feminism’” The Feminist movement is one that has not ended and will continue in order to support and encourage women in American society to pursue their goals as individuals deserving of equal opportunity. “The Foundation of future feminist struggle must be solidly based on a recognition of the need to eradicate the underlying cultural basis and causes of sexism and other forms of group oppression” An awareness of the oppressions in American society is the first step to making change as part of the Feminist Movement no matter what generation, age, gender, race, age, or sexual orientation.

Women's liberation in the United States

The phrase "Women’s Liberation" was first used in the United States in 1964and first appeared in print in 1966. By 1968, although the term Women’s Liberation Front appeared in the magazine Ramparts, it was starting to refer to the whole women’s movement. Bra-burning also became associated with the movement.Freeman, Jo. The politics of women's liberation. David McKay N.Y. 1975 This term is one that needs to be contextualized within American society. It is assuming that the oppressed are all women in America. The work of the Feminist movement have had liberation as a specific goal for women but the agenda has evolved as culture has transformed and the issues being addressed by the Feminist Movement have increased. Keeping in mind that the “Optimism about the outcome of a collective challenge will thus enhance the probability of participation; pessimism will diminish it” allowed women who therefore achieved some sense of liberation to feel accomplished with the time and energy they were dedicating to the movement. Participation lacked in respect to the broader spectrum of women in America, specifically women who were not white and part of the middle to upper class. The transitions made throughout history however helped to expand the efforts of the Feminist Movement to include women of different race, class, and sexual orientation. Different actions have been seen to be highlights of Women’s Liberation but it was a goal of the greater movement rather than one specific moment in history. One of the most vocal critics of the women's liberation movement has been the African American feminist and intellectual, Gloria Jean Watkins (who uses the pseudonym "bell hooks"), who argues that this movement glossed over race and class and thus failed to address "the issues that divided women". She highlighted the lack of minority voices in the women's movement in her book Feminist theory from margin to center (1984). The division between women in America has been result of differences of race, class, and sexual orientation. It has been “Racism [that] keeps women from uniting against sexism.” It is important not to view race or gender with an eye of oppression (Bhavnani 80).The origins of Women’s Liberation in America can be identified as being part of two branches that essentially started the Feminist Movement and more specifically the actions towards women’s liberation. The older of the two branches included the formation of organizations such as Women’s Equity Action League, Human Rights of Women, and the National Organization of Women (NOW). These organization were primarily concerned with the legal and economic obstacles facing women. Men and women worked to address issues of working women, gender roles, salary, and opportunities of women in the workforce. The second branch identified as the younger branch included a larger number of smaller groups that focused specifically on different activities. The efforts of the younger branch was influenced by the events and actions of the Civil Rights Movement and the motivation to create change came from groups like Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) who targeted college campus communities to get involved By increasing awareness about women’s issues individuals were motivated to educate themselves whether it was through experience or academics. The difference between the older and younger branches is their organization and structure. The older branch is more likely to work with the structure of society whereas the younger group tend to defy the institutionalized aspect of working with the system . The younger branch makes up many different groups which tended to form among friend circles creating challenges like diversifying the groups. These two branches are important to recognize because they allow the history of the Feminist Movement to be contextualized within American culture. The branches help to identify the efforts that have gone on in social circles, college campus, and cities all over the country.

Long Reach of Feminism

As a movement these women produced the deepest transformation in American society and enlisted the largest number of participants. Underlying the specific conflicts in political economy and culture made gender issues matter like never before to activists on all sides of the issue and to millions of other ordinary citizens. Historian Nancy Cott wrote “feminism was an impulse that was impossible to translate into a program without centrifugal results” about the first wave of the movement. What made a change in gender order feel necessary to so much of society was the fate of the family wage system; the male breadwinner/female homemaker idea that shaped government policies and employment in businesses. In the years of the movement women accomplished many of the goals they set out to do. They won protection from employment discrimination, inclusion in affirmative action, abortion law reform, greater representation in media, equal access to school athletics, congressional passage of an equal rights movement and so much more.Demographic changes started sweeping industrial society’s; birth rates declined, life expectancy increased, and women were entering the paid labor force in massive amounts and new public policies emerged fitted to changing family forms and individual life cycles. The work of these women also changed the popular understanding of marriage and the very meaning of life; women came to want more out of their marriages and from men, education, and themselves.The efforts and accomplishments of these women and organizations throughout the women’s movement inspired many authors of that time to write about their personal experiences with feminism. Jo Freeman and Sara Evans were two such authors. Both women participated in the movement and wrote about their firsthand knowledge of feminism. Freeman, American feminist and writer, wrote several feminist articles on issues such as social movements, political parties, public policy toward women and many other important pieces about women. Evans wrote her experiences in books such as “The Roots of Women’s Liberation in the Civil Right Movement and the New Left” and “Born for Liberty”. Her works focused more on young women activists recognizing that the “personal is political” as well as showing how these women used discussion sessions to expand understanding of the social roots of personal problems and worked towards developing different practices to address those issues.Part of what made feminism so successful was the way women in different situations developed their own variants and organized for the goals most important to them. All women, Native American women, working class women, Jewish women, catholic women, sex workers, and women with disabilities, described what gender equality would mean for them and worked together to achieve it.

Social changes

The feminist movement affected change in Western society, including women's suffrage; the right to initiate divorce proceedings and "no fault" divorce; and the right of women to make individual decisions regarding pregnancy (including access to contraceptives and abortion); and the right to own property. Messer-Davidow, Ellen, Disciplining feminism: from social activism to academic discourse (Duke University Press, 2002), ISBN 9780822328437

Feminism has affected many changes in Western society, including women's suffrage, broad employment for women at more equitable wages and access to university education.

The United Nations Human Development Report 2004 estimated that when both paid employment and unpaid household tasks are accounted for, on average women work more than men. In rural areas of selected developing countries women performed an average of 20% more work than men, or an additional 102 minutes per day. In the OECD countries surveyed, on average women performed 5% more work than men, or 20 minutes per day. At the UN's Pan Pacific Southeast Asia Women's Association 21st International Conference in 2001 it was stated that "in the world as a whole, women comprise 51 percent of the population, do 66 percent of the work, receive 10 percent of the income and own less than one percent of the property".

The social climate in America has definitely evolved throughout history. The definitions of Feminism, Feminist, and Feminist Theory now are not a monolithic term. There are multiple dimensions to the movement that encompass all different aspects of American culture. In America “most people are socialized to think in terms of opposition rather than compatibility” hooks, bell. 2000. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. Cambridge: South End Press. p. 31) . Social changes have not only included the right to vote, greater equality in the workforce, as well as reproductive rights but also the recognition of injustices and the ways in which both men and women can work to change them. According to bell hooks, in order to create change it is essential to recognize that “exploited and oppressed groups of women are usually encouraged by those in power to feel that their situation is hopeless, that they can do nothing to break the pattern of domination”


Feminists are often proponents of using non-sexist language, using "Ms." to refer to both married and unmarried women, for example, or the ironic use of the term "herstory" instead of "history". Feminists are also often proponents of using gender-inclusive language, such as "humanity" instead of "mankind", or "he or she" in place of "he" where the gender is unknown.

Gender-neutral language is a description of language usages which are aimed at minimizing assumptions regarding the biological sex of human referents. The advocacy of gender-neutral language reflects, at least, two different agendas: one aims to clarify the inclusion of both sexes or genders (gender-inclusive language); the other proposes that gender, as a category, is rarely worth marking in language (gender-neutral language). Gender-neutral language is sometimes described as non-sexist language by advocates and politically-correct language by opponents.

Heterosexual relationships

The increased entry of women into the workplace beginning in the twentieth century has affected gender roles and the division of labor within households. Sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild in The Second Shift and The Time Bind presents evidence that in two-career couples, men and women, on average, spend about equal amounts of time working, but women still spend more time on housework. Feminist writer Cathy Young responds to Hochschild's assertions by arguing that in some cases, women may prevent the equal participation of men in housework and parenting.

Feminist criticisms of men's contributions to child care and domestic labor in the Western middle class are typically centered around the idea that it is unfair for women to be expected to perform more than half of a household's domestic work and child care when both members of the relationship perform an equal share of work outside the home. Several studies provide statistical evidence that the financial income of married men does not affect their rate of attending to household duties.

In Dubious Conceptions, Kristin Luker discusses the effect of feminism on teenage women's choices to bear children, both in and out of wedlock. She says that as childbearing out of wedlock has become more socially acceptable, young women, especially poor young women, while not bearing children at a higher rate than in the 1950s, now see less of a reason to get married before having a child. Her explanation for this is that the economic prospects for poor men are slim, hence poor women have a low chance of finding a husband who will be able to provide reliable financial support.

Although research suggests that to an extent, both women and men perceive feminism to be in conflict with romance, studies of undergraduates and older adults have shown that feminism has positive impacts on relationship health for women and sexual satisfaction for men, and found no support for negative stereotypes of feminists.

Effect on religion

The feminist movement has affected religion and theology in profound ways. In liberal branches of Protestant Christianity, women are now allowed to be ordained as clergy, and in Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist Judaism, women are now allowed to be ordained as rabbis and cantor. Within these aforementioned Christian and Jewish groups, some women are gradually obtaining positions of power that were formerly only held by men, and their perspectives are now sought out in developing new statements of belief. These trends, however, have been resisted within most sects of Islam, Roman Catholicism, and Orthodox Christianity.

Feminist theology is a movement that reconsiders the traditions, practices, scriptures, and theologies of religions from a feminist perspective. Some of the goals of feminist theology include increasing the role of women among the clergy and religious authorities, reinterpreting male-dominated imagery and language about God, determining women's place in relation to career and motherhood, and studying images of women in the religion's sacred texts.Christian feminism is a branch of feminist theology which seeks to interpret and understand Christianity in light of the equality of women and men. Because this equality has been historically ignored, Christian feminists believe their contributions are necessary for a complete understanding of Christianity. While there is no standard set of beliefs among Christian feminists, most agree that God does not discriminate on the basis of biologically-determined characteristics such as sex. Their major issues are the ordination of women, male dominance in Christian marriage, and claims of moral deficiency and inferiority of abilities of women compared to men. They also are concerned with the balance of parenting between mothers and fathers and the overall treatment of women in the church.

Within Christian feminist theology, there are many branches of prominent religious thought. After these Christian feminists fought for suffrage rights, they concentrated their efforts ethics and the meaning of injustice and justice. The following quote demonstrates the intention of this switch of concentration as an attempt “to thematize and scrutinize such terms we need a somewhat indirect, oblique, mode of approach to the use of justice”

Early feminists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton concentrated almost solely on “making women equal to men”. However, the Christian feminist movement chose to concentrate on the language of religion because they viewed the historic gendering of God as male as a result of the pervasive influence of patriarchy. Rosemary Radford Ruether provided a systematic critique of Christian theology from a feminist and theist point of view. She called for the language of God and religion to become something that represents the ability of God to be either male or female and to be neither male nor female concurrently. Ruether claimed that the male personification of God resulted from the tradition of Judeo-Christian leadership that failed to recognize gender inequalities as problematic. She also suggests that it might have been difficult to note, because of the numerous women that filled roles of power. In her view, ‘the recovery of female qualities, along with the use of appropriate female language for God, would help correct the improper hierarchical social structure of male over female”. William P. Alston asks the question, in his article “Speaking Literally of God,” of whether it is possible to form subject-predicate sentences to be asserted truly of God conceived as an incorporeal being. His analysis is important to the area of feminist God-talk, because it questions whether inclusiveness is even possible when talking about an incorporeal God. Alston concludes that further work remains to include analysis of timelessness, immutability, and other classical divine attributes to see if they constitute a bar to speaking literally of God.

Reuther continued her argument with the idea that male monotheism perpetuates the social stratification of patriarchal rule, particularly in the Judeo-Christian tradition, as demonstrated by the portrayal of males as positive-neutral figures and females as negative. Men are seen as representatives of God and “responsible partners of the covenant with him” Yet, women do not traditionally have a direct connection with the Divine; theirs is derived from marriage to men. “Thus the hierarchy of God-male-female does not merely make woman secondary in relation to God, it also gives her a negative identity in relation to the divine. Whereas the male is essentially seen as the image of the male transcendent ego or God, woman is seen as the image of the lower, material nature” Christian feminists identify these connections as problematic in creating inclusive religious language because they not only deprive women of a place to involve themselves in religion, but also support the notion that males are the only ones in touch with surrounding reality.

The prominence of patriarchy in male monotheism indicated a certain systematic depreciation of femininity in relation to religion. There is no God and Goddess power dynamic in traditional Judeo-Christian male monotheism as it existed in older Greek religious traditions. Further, the Judeo-Christian tradition does not represent a true male-female duality. Male monotheism maintains that God is essentially male and that men represent his image. Through marriage women are supposedly able to have a positive connection to the Divine, but this relationship implies that women must remain subservient to and subordinate to their male husbands and male God. “Yahweh is depicted as the angry and threatening husband who will punish his unfaithful bride with summary divorce. But he is also described as winning her back and making her faithful to him by drawing her out into the desert wildness.”

Though some made the argument that males can also be subject to the punishment of an angry God, others saw this language as something that reduces women to roles as wives to be subservient instead of independent and subordinate instead of dominant like their male counterparts. “By patriarchy we mean not only the subordination of females to males, but the whole structure of Father-ruled society: aristocracy over serfs, masters over slaves, king over subjects, racial overlords over colonized people. Religions that reinforce hierarchical stratification use the Divine as the apex of this system of privilege and control”Modern Judeo-Christian theists proclaim that their tradition is against oppressions of all kinds. However, many of their teachings cannot simply be interpreted as being against all systems of oppression, while in most of the language a certain degree of patriarchy remains.“The Davidic monarchy… established at the heart of Biblical religion a motif or protest against the status quo of ruling-class privilege and deprivation of the poor. God is seen as a critic of this society, a champion of the social victims” . While the Judeo-Christian tradition is seen as a movement of revolution, it has not traditionally been opposed to gender oppression. “Although Yahwism dissents against class hierarchy, it issues no similar protest against gender discrimination”One question answered in feminist theology is the following, “Is tradition, here, a roadblock in making (male) monotheism inclusive and free of gender discrimination?” “Is religious text sexist in the Judeo-Christian tradition primarily may be the result of the tunnel-vision of those prophets in power, or in direct connection with God. While male prophets may have been aware of the class oppression they might have been experiencing it might have been difficult for them to also realize the conditions of many women on their side. Fighting for gender equality might have been incredibly uninteresting or unimportant to those male prophets. The class hierarchy male prophets contended themselves with protesting cannot be equalized with a protest against gender oppression, because an anti-class structure reality need not also be an anti-gender subjugation reality. “Those male prophets who were aware of oppression by rich urbanites or dominating empires were not similarly conscious of their own oppression of dependents – women and slaves – in the patriarchal family”

Feminists argued that knowing that fighting single systems of oppressions alone cannot possibly end all oppressions is important, because it recognizes the ways in which these systems interpenetrate each other to maintain male patriarchy.

Feminists also questioned “Why does there seem to be a lack of anti-patriarchal use of God-language in the Judeo-Christian tradition?” Reuther suggests that it may be due to the infusion of some women into roles of power. It would have been difficult to identify the oppression of women as systematic problem and address it in relation to religious language, because some women did not need liberation and were in fact also oppressors.“… In its protest against Canaanite urban society it would have known powerful females, queens, priestesses, and wealthy landowners who functioned as oppressors. It would have been difficult to recognize women as an oppressed gender group when the primary social stratification integrated some women into roles of power”

They would next question how can gender discrimination be tackled by religious language, if women themselves were involved in oppressing namely members of their own gender social group. One suggestion was to totally deny and revolt against the totality of structures that maintain oppressions of all kinds. However, they deemed this as difficult , and recognized that by examining individual relationships within these systems of oppressions may position a person in one or more potentially privileged groups. Feminist theists recognized that no one of these structures is more essential than another and that each work to maintain another is important, because it calls them to create of a multi-faceted front of resistance.

Islamic feminism is concerned with the role of women in Islam and aims for the full equality of all Muslims, regardless of gender, in public and private life. Islamic feminists advocate women's rights, gender equality, and social justice grounded in an Islamic framework. Although rooted in Islam, the movement's pioneers have also utilized secular and Western feminist discourses and recognize the role of Islamic feminism as part of an integrated global feminist movement. Advocates of the movement seek to highlight the deeply rooted teachings of equality in the Quran and encourage a questioning of the patriarchal interpretation of Islamic teaching through the Quran, hadith (sayings of Muhammad), and sharia (law) towards the creation of a more equal and just society.

Jewish feminism is a movement that seeks to improve the religious, legal, and social status of women within Judaism and to open up new opportunities for religious experience and leadership for Jewish women. Feminist movements, with varying approaches and successes, have opened up within all major branches of Judaism. In its modern form, the movement can be traced to the early 1970s in the United Statesmarker. According to Judith Plaskow, who has focused on feminism in Reform Judaism, the main issues for early Jewish feminists in these movements were the exclusion from the all-male prayer group or minyan, the exemption from positive time-bound mitzvot, and women's inability to function as witnesses and to initiate divorce.

The Dianic Wicca or Wiccan feminism is a female focused, Goddess-centered Wiccan sect; also known as a feminist religion that teaches witchcraft as every woman’s right. It is also one sect of the many practiced in Wicca.

See also


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  2. Walker, Rebecca, 'Becoming the Third Wave' in Ms. (January/February, 1992) pp. 39-41
  3. Humm, Maggie (ed). 1992. Modern Feminisms. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 22).
  4. Humm, Maggie (ed). 1992. Modern Feminisms. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 44).
  5. Krolokke, Charlotte and Anne Scott Sorensen, "From Suffragettes to Grrls" in Gender Communication Theories and Analyses:From Silence to Performance (Sage, 2005)
  6. (hooks, bell. 2000. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. Cambridge: South End Press. p. 26)
  7. Freedman, Estelle B., No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women (London: Ballantine Books, 2003)
  8. Snow, David A., E. Burke Rochford, Jr., Steven K. Wordon, Robert D. Benford. 1986. Frame Alignment Processes, Micromobilization, and Movement Participation. American Sociological Review. p. 464)
  9. hooks, bell. 2000. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. Cambridge: South End Press. p. 28)
  10. Gatlin, Rochelle. 1987. American Women Since 1945. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. p. 119
  11. hooks, bell. 2000. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. Cambridge: South End Press. p. 33)
  12. Sarachild, Kathie. Consciousness-Raising: A Radical Weapon, in Sarachild, K, Hanisch, C, Levine, F, Leon, B, Price, C (eds.) Feminist Revolution. Random House N.Y. 1978 pp. 144-150.
  13. Mitchell, Juliet, 'Women: The longest revolution' in New Left Review, 1966, Nov-Dec, pp. 11-37
  14. Hinckle, Warren and Marianne Hinckle. Women Power. Ramparts 1968 February 22-31
  15. Snow, David A., E. Burke Rochford, Jr., Steven K. Wordon, Robert D. Benford. 1986. Frame Alignment Processes, Micromobilization, and Movement Participation. American Sociological Review. p. 470)
  16. Banaszak, Lee Ann (ed.). 2006. The U.S. Women’s Movement in Global Perspective: People, Passions, and Power. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 29)
  17. Banaszak, Lee Ann (ed.). 2006. The U.S. Women’s Movement in Global Perspective: People, Passions, and Power. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 29)
  18. MacLean, Nancy. 2006. Gender is Powerful: The Long Reach of Feminism. Magazine of History 20: 19-23
  19. MacLean, Nancy. 2006. Gender is Powerful: The Long Reach of Feminism. Magazine of History 20: 19-23
  20. MacLean, Nancy. 2006. Gender is Powerful: The Long Reach of Feminism. Magazine of History 20: 19-23
  21. MacLean, Nancy. 2006. Gender is Powerful: The Long Reach of Feminism. Magazine of History 20: 19-23
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