Feminist activist work to call for their rights

Feminist activist work to call for their rights, the ‘first wave’ of feminism (roughly 1830–1930) was similar to other nineteenth-century political campaigns, such as Catholic emancipation or anti-slavery, in which women had been active. These early feminist philosophical arguments were translated into political movements that focused on
property and divorce rights, and equality in voting rights.
In the USA the rights of man, spelt out in the Declaration of Independence, were an obvious starting point to argue for the rights of woman.InUSA1848,Newyork, Elizabeth cady Stanton called 300 woman and men to attend the first women’s right convention “Seneca falls convention”. The First World War had raised the profile of women in employment and so political recognition had to be made of their contribution to the war effort. In 1918 women were allowed to vote on reaching the age of 30. By 1928 women in Britain had the vote on the same basis as men, though in much of continental Europe the vote came much later– in France not until after the Second World War. By then women in the democracies had acquired legal and political equality. The results, however, were not entirely satisfactory. Women remained worse off than men, especially in wages and job opportunities(Kevin and Boyd 297).
‘Second-wave’ feminism
A radically new development occurred in the 1960s and 1970s, the so-called ‘second wave’ of feminism, inspired by such writers as Simone de Beauvoir, Betty Friedan, Kate Millet, and, most famously, Germaine Greer, The Female Eunuch (1970). Debate from
what might be generally considered political to the psychological, cultural and anthropological fields. These explorations extended the women’smovement far outside the conventional bounds of political discourse and posed a formidable challenge to most basic assumptions of cultureand civilization. Women needed radical social change and political
emancipation if they were to be ‘liberated’ from thousands of years of male oppression. Liberal and radical feminism agreed in their demand for both elements to improve women’s lot. Both equal rights legislation and considerable social change, especially in popular attitudes on gender issues, are needed to improve the lot of women and redress the power balance between men and women.
Men were seen as being tough, competitive and emotionally limited. Human history was a struggle between these conflicting male and female virtues between and within people. Feminists involved in the peace movement, for example, argued that the potential for destruction is now so great that it is vital that the female side of humanity gains more influence in politics and society to avoid nuclear war and environmental destruction (Kevin and Boyd 298).
‘Third-wave’ feminism
By the 1990s some feminists argued that second-wave feminism was
becoming rather dated. Major civil liberties and legal advances for women had occurred. Technological developments, such as the contraceptive pill and household labour-saving devices, had liberated women from the burdens of unplanned childbearing and the grind of housework that had held back earlier generations. The 1990s, it was claimed by feminists of what might be called ‘third wave’ or’new’ feminism, was the time to consolidate what had been achieved. Women are still disadvantaged in many areas of life in modern societies, but the principle of female equality, now largely accepted and backed by legislation,needed to be made a stronger reality in practical rather than just theoretical terms. A number of issues of gender discrimination remain to be addressed:female pay in Britain remains, on average, around 75 per cent of male wages;women are more likely to be found in low-paid, part-time, low-status,insecure, low-skilled and temporary work than men are; few women are at the top of the major professions of law, medicine, academia, the media and the senior civil service. In addition, in 2001 40 per cent of the FTSE Index companies were identified as having no women on their board and the proportion of leading businesses with women on the board fell from 69 per cent in 1999 to 57 per cent in 2001(Kevin and Boyd 299).

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