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The Feminist Movement

The Feminist Movement

The Feminist Movement Feminism can be defined as the promotion of women’s rights in the areas of political, cultural opportunities, social, and economic standing as men’s equals. The feminist movement was a social movement that was aimed gaining equal rights for women in society. The feminist movement is categorized in waves. The first wave was during the 19th and early 20th centuries focused on women’s legal rights, such as the right to vote, education, employment and marriage laws. During the whole of the nineteenth century, women had no political rights though there had been some movement in other areas to advance the rights of women.

In 1839, a law was passed which stated that if a marriage broke down and the parents separated, children under seven years of age should stay with their mother. In 1857, women could divorce husbands who were cruel to them or husbands who had left them. In 1870, women were allowed to keep money they had earned. In 1891, women could not be forced to live with husbands unless they wished to. Second wave of feminism occurred during the 1960’s where women wanted to liberate themselves from the orthodox roles of mothers and housewives. This wave of feminism dealt with a wider range of issues as opposed to the first wave.

This wave mainly dealt with reproductive rights, sexuality, workplace and family roles. One of biggest events of the feminist movement was the “Miss America Protest. ” Where at the Miss America Pageant that took place on September 7, 1968, Hundreds of feminist activists showed up on the Atlantic City Boardwalk and the women threw bras, mops, girdles, high-heeled shoes, cosmetics, pots and pans, and Playboy magazines, items they called “instruments of female torture” into a big garbage can called the freedom trash can since they placed items they believed were a symbol of male oppression into that trash can.

The protesters also crowned a live sheep and compared the beauty pageant to livestock competitions at county fairs. Although feminism has had a great impact on the Western society some societies are against the changes. Today in Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive and all women mustare required to have a male guardian, either their father or husband and women cannot vote or be elected to high political positions.

Many women in Saudi Arabia do not want gender equality and these women believe that the Western society is “failing to understand the uniqueness of Saudi society. ” “Look, we are not asking for … women’s rights according to Western values or lifestyles … We want things according to what Islam says. Look at our history, our role models. ” says Maha Akeel, a Saudi Journalist. Women’s rights in Saudi Arabia are defined by Islam and tribal customs.

Islamic law (called the “sharia”) is based on the Qur’an and hadith, the teachings of Muhammad, so by adopting gender equality it would seem as though they were going against their religious beliefs. The feminist movement effected change in Western society, including women’s suffrage, the right to divorce and annul marriages, the right of women to make individual decisions regarding reproduction such as pregnancy and access to contraceptives and abortion and the right to own their own property.

It has also led to equal job opportunities with the same wages as men, known as the “Equal pay for equal work concept” which most people believed was necessary since on average women work more than men, and according to UN Women, “Women perform 66 percent of the world’s work, produce 50 percent of the food, but earn 10 percent of the income and own 1 percent of the property. There has also been a fight for the equal right of “topfreedom” which is the right for women to be allowed to be topless in public places the way men are allowed to be bare-chested in public and also to be allowed to breastfeed openly in public, since in some countries such as Shanghai, China, breastfeeding in public is considered embarrassing and in the Philippines public establishments like malls and schools, and government institutions are required to have lactation stations separate from the bathrooms , where mothers can breastfeed their babies or express milk.

Gabby’s bit (in case Sarah didn’t get it) The importance of gender equality: 1. to provide equal opportunities for men and woman (jobs, health care, education for children) 2. it creates independence for women. They become self sufficient 3. to prevent domestic violence against women 4. it empowers women to achieve sustainable development 5. so both woman and men have a right to vote. 6. freedom of speech for both genders How it affects society: 1. Laws are made so that there would be equality in workplaces.

Women are able to obtain jobs of their choice/ and receive proper paychecks. 2. organisations – movements for equal rights/ woman’s groups have been made 3. breaks limitations – women are able to own land/ businesses 4. women are now given opportunities in politics/ right to vote/ decision making power. 5. a reduction in poverty as woman could be able to generate revenue to provide for her family/self http://listverse. com/2008/11/20/10-extreme-examples-of-gender-inequality/ and nia’s link because I can 😛