Feminism is something people talk about a lot these days. They discuss how important it is to give equal rights to men and women and that women are just as capable as men. Going by the book, Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women.
This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment as well. The feminist theory aims to study the gender inequality by observing the social scenario. Feminism is not just about equal rights and opportunities but it is also about improving the condition of women, empowering them and making them self dependent. Feminists also work for women in various other ways by creating awareness about various diseases affecting women, girl child education, female infanticide etc. Basically they work to improve the condition of women and generate awareness among them. Feminism has had three waves till now.
#1 First Wave of Feminism
This was the time when feminism as an idea began to from and women started realizing that they deserve equal rights and opportunities as men. This initially took place or emerged in Europe, Britain and the United States. These ideas did not stick to the boundaries of these nations but spread beyond them and with this migration of ideas it gained momentum and began evolving. During the time the feminist ideas were centered around equal rights and equal opportunities in the workforce, administrative system and in the society. These ideas were supported by the various social and intellectual changes taking place in Europe. Also the movement wanted equal rights from women in issues like marriage and inheritance.
#2 Second Wave of Feminism
This wave of feminism started in the 20th century and focused on a broader or bigger picture. Women now wanted the right to vote and changes in the constitution giving them equal rights and opportunities. During this time women started forming groups to fight for their cause. Women now wanted to reform family laws as well which gave men control over their wives. The feminist activist and author Carol Hanisch coined the slogan “The Personal is Political”, which became synonymous with the second wave. Second-wave feminists see women’s cultural and political inequalities as inextricably linked and encourage women to understand aspects of their personal lives as deeply politicized and as reflecting sexist power structures
#3 Third Wave of Feminism
Since the beginning in the 19th century the feminist movement has spread all throughout the world and has changed many forms. The third and most recent wave came in the late 20th and early 21st century. There are various organizations and movements going on which support and uphold the feminist view and fight for it.
The third wave of feminism had different ideas and motives compared to the other two. They raised issues of sexuality, challenging female heterosexuality and celebrating sexuality as a means of female empowerment.These ideas were more evolved from the previous movements.
There are various types of feminism depicting different ideologies and views.
#1 Liberal Feminism
This is the form of feminism which allows women to make their own choices and decisions. It also encompasses women’a ablities and rights to equal rights within the society. There are many liberal women organisations fighting for their cause. Some on them being National Women’s Political Caucus and The Women’s Equity Action League.These organisations were formed in the the 1970s and since then have been active.
#2 Radical Feminism
Radical feminism fights against the social structure of the society which is till date male dominated. This from of society where men are given a more important status compared to women is what these feminists want to fight against. They feel that this structure of society suppresses women and their freedom. The reason this group is called “radical” is because they view the oppression of women as the most fundamental form of oppression, one that cuts across boundaries of race, culture, and economic class.
#3 Marxist and Socialist Feminism
These are the people who believe in the theories of Karl Marx. They believe that the only possible way of reducing the oppression of women in the society is to follow the capitalist model of society. They are focused more on social aspects of life rather than material aspects.
#4 Cultural Feminism
As radical feminism died out as a movement, cultural feminism came into light. In fact, many of the same people moved from the former to the latter. The belief and the notion that women are “inherently weaker” compared to men forms the foundation of this form of feminism. They also feel that the contributions of women in our society are disregard and are not given as much importance as they should be given.
#5 Eco Feminism
This branch of feminism has a very different view as compared to the other groups advocating feminism. They draw a parallel between the enviornment and the women in our society. They feel that women in our society are oppresses and are treated badly and so is our enviornment. They feel that the bad condition of our environment and the way it is degraded is comparable to the deplorable conditions of women in our society.