Emergence of Feminism

How did Feminism evolve?

The word Feminism derived from French féminisme, in the late 19th century.

The first Women’s Rights Movement began in the United States which was a turning point in women’s history. It was a convention that took place in Seneca Falls, New York in July 19, 1848. About hundred people had gathered at the convention, two thirds were women and the rest were men. The important planners of this conference were Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a mother four children and Lucretia Mott, a Quaker abolitionist. The Declaration of Sentiments was signed successfully after a long debate at the convention. The Declaration of Sentiments was a document that presented a list of discrimination women faced in America. Twelve resolutions were proposed to support women’s voting rights and to treat women and men equal under the law.

Next, the first National Women’s Rights Convention took place in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1850. It was a sequence of yearly meetings that brought about 1,000 people combining men and women. The planners of these gathering were Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and many other abolitionists. Many issues were introduced and discussed at this event such as property rights of women, marriage reform, education and equal pay.

Waves of Feminism:

The Seneca Falls Convention is known as the First Wave of Feminism movement which began in the mid-19th century. It is assumed that the First Wave ended in 1920, when the U.S. added 19th amendment to the constitution and granted women the right to vote.

The Second Wave of Feminism began in 1960. At the time, women were restricted to gender roles such as household duties and indoor activities. The Second Wave of Feminism mainly focused on social inequality, sexual stereotypes, reproductive rights and women’s rights in the workplace. Primary organizations such as NOW short for National Organization for Women led campaigns to raise awareness among women and recognize the ways in which they were oppressed.  The Second Wave of Feminism ended in the 1980s with prohibition on sex discrimination regardless of race, color and religion and the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) which was formed to implement the Civil Rights Act.

The Third Wave of Feminism emerged in 1990 and still continues today. The Third Wave of Feminism focuses on low income or uneducated women, abortion rights and women’s role in society. However, The wave contains more complexity than the First and Second wave of Feminism because it takes on the global perspective. It supports and interacts with women in developing countries such as the Middle East and Africa by empowering women to gain equal opportunity and form their unique identity. Also, the Third Wave of Feminism is known to support the transgender community that weren’t  included in the Second Wave of Feminism.

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