History of feminism

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Feminism is a movement that, historically, fights for the real equality of rights, as well as capacities, between men and women.

Women, traditionally, have occupied a subordinate role to men, both in public and private life. The feminist movement or, in general, feminism, fights for the eradication of inequality and discrimination between men and women. As well as, on occasions, the violence that the former exert against the latter.

Thanks to feminism and social advancement, equality has been achieved in all areas, but not in all countries. In Western democracies, a legal shield has been achieved for these aspirations, something that does not happen in other cultures such as the Muslim.

History of feminism

The history of feminism has been grouped into different stages, these being the so-called feminist waves.

First wave of feminism

The first wave extends from the French Revolution to the middle of the 19th century.

It arises in contrast to the drift of exclusion that the Revolution was taking. Women, despite the great protagonism they acquired in the revolutionary process (see as an example the assault of the Paris fishmongers on the Palace of Versailles), were totally excluded in the revolutionary conquests.

The main demands under this period were access to education, inspired mainly by Mary Wollstonecraft, and women's suffrage.

Second wave of feminism

This period occupies from the middle of the XIX century to the middle of the XX, this wave is also called as suffragism.

The main document that inspires this phase is Statement of Feelings, signed by men and women, and emerged at the Seneca Falls convention. In it, social inequalities between men and women were denounced.

In this period, women's suffrage is achieved. New Zealand is the first country to approve it, in 1893. Subsequently, it is followed by countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. In Spain, for example, it was necessary to wait until the Second Republic to see this right effective; and this, from the hand of feminists like Clara Campoamor.

In addition, during this time, and with the explosion of the two world wars, women had to occupy numerous jobs that would have been typical of men, this also helped in this process of emancipation.

Third wave of feminism

The third feminist wave is situated in the sixties of the 20th century, having as its starting point two very important works: The mystique of femininity and the second sex, by Betty Friedan and Simone de Beauvoir, respectively.

Two works that promote the protest, mainly, against the setbacks experienced after the Second World War, when women, due to the war, occupied jobs traditionally reserved exclusively for men.

Here the claims in favor of suffrage or access to education are no longer enough, but rather we talk about sexuality, violence against women and the so-called multicultural feminism arises. The latter consists of the vindication of rights by other races, ethnicities and cultures, far from Western countries.

It is in this context of the third wave, when, from the 70s and 80s, numerous countries began to legislate in favor of a real equality between men and women, and in a scenario in which, in turn, they were provides other legal protections regarding abortion, rape and violence and protection against dismissal for pregnancy.

Fourth wave of feminism

There are many feminists and scholars of the movement who affirm the existence of a fourth wave. Some place their beginning in the nineties of the last century, and others already directly in the twenty-first century, even during this last decade, from 2010. The truth is that, the year in which it began is not very relevant, yes that there is consensus regarding the motives behind it and the objectives it pursues.

The central axis is violence against women. According to the spokespersons of the group, although legally in many countries women are equated with men, there are still numerous cases of violence and mistreatment against women, both physical and verbal. Other goals of the movement are to end surrogacy, prostitution and trafficking.

Worldwide, the movement me too was in charge of visualizing sexual assault on women. The movement came after the accusation of film director Harvey Weinstein of harassing dozens of them. After that, there were numerous demonstrations of support for those affected. Also, through the networks, women who had experienced cases of harassment were telling their stories as a sign of solidarity and visibility. In Spain, it is considered that the judgment of the pack it was the one that kicked off the massive demands against violence suffered by women.

One of the successes attributed to this new wave is having feminist visibility even in those countries where women are totally repressed. This is the case in Iran or Saudi Arabia, where the law of the Koran prevails. In the latter country, in the face of international and internal pressure, women are being allowed a slight degree of freedom. In this sense, allowing them to have rights such as permission so that they can obtain a driving license. Even so, from the western point of view, women are still in the background and there is still a long way to go.

Criticism of feminism

The feminist movement, like so many others, is full of controversy and detractors. During the first three waves, it was due to the great conservatism that prevailed over the population. A current in which the roles of both were well defined and constructed over thousands of years. It was even the women themselves who defended the traditional positions acquired.

In this last wave, the fourth, the criticism comes more from the radical and extremist drift experienced by certain sectors within the movement itself. In addition to the mistakes made by some of the laws, such as, for example, the existence of false reports that involve the immediate detention of the male.

Another mistake attributed to him, by his detractors, is the inexistence of glass ceilings; arguing that women are not in senior and relevant positions because their general entry into the labor market was late. In fact, in Spain, more than half of the judiciary is made up of women. It is a matter of time before they reach the top positions.

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