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A Brief History Of Feminism

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A Brief History of Feminism

Feminism is difficult to define because every woman views feminism differently. “Generally speaking, feminism is a political, social, and cultural stance that is pro-woman” (Warhol, 1995). Feminists believe, among other things, in equal rights, opportunities and paychecks for men and women. Women are just as worthy and valuable as men and feminists want the world to know it.
Before the 1920’s, women had virtually no rights. They could not vote, they could not own property and they were treated with little or no respect. Women were expected to stay at home and take care of their husbands and children. If a woman did choose to work outside of her home, there were few jobs to choose from. Most women worked as clerks, nurses, schoolteachers and other traditionally female occupations. Women began to grow very frustrated and they realized that something had to change.
“Historically speaking, feminism has been associated in the United States with the struggle for women’s political enfranchisement” (Warhol, 1995). The first wave of feminism in the United States occurred in the 1920’s hen women fought for the right to vote. A proposed constitutional amendment was introduced in every session of Congress form 1878 to 1919, but was defeated each time. Finally, in 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment was added to the Constitution giving women equal pay for equal work, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited job discrimination on the basis of gender.
The second wave of feminism arose in the 1960’s with the sexual revolution. This wave of feminism is sometimes referred to as Women’s Liberation. This time the movement involved issues of reproductive rights (such as birth control and abortion) as well as equality in the workplace and female representation in the government. Many believe that this wave of feminism is still in place today.

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