Feminism defines cultural, political, and economic movements aimed at establishing women with equal rights and legal protections. Feminist activists have campaigned over time for significant problems such as women’s legal rights, in particular regarding contracts, real estate and voting; body credibility and autonomy; birth control as well as abortion freedom, such as birth control and fertility treatment; protection from domestic violence, sexual harassment and sexual assault; employment rights; such as maternity leave and fair pay; and other kinds of sexism which women face.
Feminist history is divided into three lines. The first wave happening in the 19th and early 20th centuries concerned mainly the right of women to vote. In the 1960s and 1970s, the second feminist wave took place, relates to women’s liberation movement for equal rights in law and society. The third wave, starting in the 1990s, relates to a continuation and a response to the second wave.
First-wave feminists advocated equal contract and women’s property rights, and rejected their husbands’ control. By the late 19th century, feminist activism had focused primarily on voting rights. American first-wave feminism ended in 1919 with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, granting women the right to vote.
Second-wave feminism of the 1960s-1980s focused on discrimination issues and equality. The second-wave slogan, “The Personal is Political,” recognized cultural and political inequalities among women as inextricably linked and encouraged women to understand how sexist power structures reflected their personal lives.
Third-wave feminism started in the early 1990s, leading to alleged second-wave shortcomings and the opposition against second-wave initiatives. This philosophy aims to counter the concepts of femininity that developed out of the second-wave theories, claiming that upper-middle-class white women’s second-wave interactions were overemphasized. The third wave considers women’s lives to be diverse, demonstrating how race, ethnicity, class, religion, gender, and nationality are all critical factors in feminism discussions. It takes a holistic look at topics relating to women’s lives.