Feminism refers to a broad range of ideas, approaches, and ideologies directed towards advocating for gender and sex equality for women. Feminism is a movement that seek to achieve equality and social rights for women in all key areas which includes education, personal, economic, employment, and cultural sphere of human endeavours. Activists of the feminist movements have used social and political theories to campaign for women’s rights and freedom where sexuality and gender-based political thinking have created imbalances for the womenfolk in the society.
The feminist movements have also campaigned for the protection of the girl-child and women from sexual harassment, rape and violence within the home. The campaigns and the activities of feminist activists over several centuries have greatly improved the lots of women in several areas and in several societies. Feminist activists have successfully used campaigns for the rights of women to secure a broad range of opportunities such as the right to vote and be voted for, the right to own property, the rights to equal pay or fair wages, the right to hold public office, the right to enter legal contracts, and the right to have maternity leave and equal rights within marriage. Though feminist movements have achieved a lot for the womenfolk yet some categories of feminism continued to be criticized for being ethnic and class-specific.
The Historical background of Feminism
The origin of feminism could be traced to France when in 1837, Charles Fourier, a French philosopher coined the word and by 1910, feminism has appeared in most of the countries in Europe and in the U.S., although feminist movements were triggered by different causes and were aimed at different goals in many of these countries. At the early stage in the U.S and the UK, feminism movements started with a focus on the campaign for the rights of women to entre contractual agreements, agitation for equality within marriage union, parenting rights, and the rights to own property. The next stage centred on the campaign for the rights of women to gain political power and at the moments, feminism movements will stop at nothing short of complete freedom for the womenfolk in all ramifications.
The place of Feminist Theory in Feminism
Feminist theory extends feminism into the fields of philosophy and theoretical ideology. The theory of feminism encompasses the fields of sociology, economics, anthropology, and philosophy. The theory focuses on the study of gender inequality and the understanding of power relations, sexuality and gender politics.