Open main menu

The Feminism Portal

International Women's Day, Bangladesh (2005)

Feminism is a range of social movements, political movements, and ideologies that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes. Feminism incorporates the position that societies prioritize the male point of view, and that women are treated unfairly within those societies. Efforts to change that include fighting gender stereotypes and seeking to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to those for men.

Feminist movements have campaigned and continue to campaign for women's rights, including the right to vote, to hold public office, to work, to earn fair wages or equal pay, to own property, to receive education, to enter contracts, to have equal rights within marriage, and to have maternity leave. Feminists have also worked to ensure access to legal abortions and social integration, and to protect women and girls from rape, sexual harassment, and domestic violence. Changes in dress and acceptable physical activity have often been part of feminist movements.

Some scholars consider feminist campaigns to be a main force behind major historical societal changes for women's rights, particularly in the West, where they are near-universally credited with achieving women's suffrage, gender-neutral language, reproductive rights for women (including access to contraceptives and abortion), and the right to enter into contracts and own property. Although feminist advocacy is, and has been, mainly focused on women's rights, some feminists, including bell hooks, argue for the inclusion of men's liberation within its aims because they believe that men are also harmed by traditional gender roles. Feminist theory, which emerged from feminist movements, aims to understand the nature of gender inequality by examining women's social roles and lived experience; it has developed theories in a variety of disciplines in order to respond to issues concerning gender.

Numerous feminist movements and ideologies have developed over the years and represent different viewpoints and aims. Some forms of feminism have been criticized for taking into account only white, middle class, and college-educated perspectives. This criticism led to the creation of ethnically specific or multicultural forms of feminism, including black feminism and intersectional feminism.

More about Feminism...

Featured article

Maria: or, The Wrongs of Woman
Maria: or, The Wrongs of Woman is Mary Wollstonecraft's unfinished novelistic sequel to her revolutionary political treatise A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). The Wrongs of Woman was published posthumously in 1798 by her husband, William Godwin, and is often considered her most radical feminist work. Wollstonecraft's philosophical and gothic novel revolves around the story of a woman imprisoned in an insane asylum by her husband. It focuses on the societal rather than the individual "wrongs of woman" and criticizes what Wollstonecraft viewed as the patriarchal institution of marriage in eighteenth-century Britain and the legal system that protected it. However, the heroine's inability to relinquish her romantic fantasies also indicts women for wallowing in a false and damaging sentimentalism. The novel pioneered the celebration of female sexuality and cross-class identification between women. Such themes, coupled with the publication of Godwin's scandalous Memoirs of Wollstonecraft's life, made the novel unpopular at the time it was published. Twentieth-century feminist critics embraced the work, integrating it into the history of the novel and feminist discourse. It is most often viewed as a fictionalized popularization of the Rights of Woman, as an extension of Wollstonecraft's feminist arguments in Rights of Woman, and as an autobiography.

Featured picture

Patchwork quilt
Credit: Russell Lee, Farm Security Administration

Mrs. Bill Stagg of Pie Town, New Mexico with her embroidered patchwork quilt that displays all 48 (at the time) United States state flowers and birds, October 1940. Quilting was a very popular early American pastime, particularly in the Midwest, where quilting circles were a common social pastime for women. Annual town fairs generally included a quilting bee, to award excellence in quilting. Handmade quilts were a very common wedding gift for young couples, and were often mentioned specifically in wills due to their sentimental significance.

In this month

Featured biography

Engraving based on a painting of Joseph Johnson by Moses Haughton.
Joseph Johnson (1738 - 1809) was an influential eighteenth-century London bookseller. His publications covered a wide variety of genres and a broad spectrum of opinions on important issues. Johnson is best known for publishing the works of radical thinkers such as Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin, and Joel Barlow as well as religious Dissenters such as Joseph Priestley, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, and Gilbert Wakefield.In the 1760s, Johnson established his publishing business, which focused primarily on religious works. He also became friends with Priestley and the artist Henry Fuseli—two relationships that lasted his entire life and brought him much business. In the 1770s and 1780s, Johnson expanded his business, publishing important works in medicine and children's literature as well as the popular poetry of William Cowper and Erasmus Darwin. Throughout his career, Johnson helped shape the thought of his era not only through his publications, but also through his support of innovative writers and thinkers. He fostered the open discussion of new ideas, particularly at his famous weekly dinners, the regular attendees of which became known as the "Johnson Circle".

Did you know...

Frances Dana Barker Gage

Categories

WikiProjects

Selected quote

Courtney Love
Feminism is a dirty word ... because your feminists are so ugly. Every picture I saw of those women at the nuclear plants, they were not pretty. So I didn't want to be associated with feminism because I thought it would make me ugly.

Things you can do

Featured content

Featured article star.png

Featured articles

Featured lists

Good articles

Featured pictures


Topics

Related portals

Wikimedia

Feminism on Wikinews     Feminism on Wikiquote     Feminism on Wikibooks     Feminism on Wikisource     Feminism on Wiktionary     Feminism on Wikimedia Commons
News Quotations Manuals & Texts Texts Definitions Images & Media
Wikinews-logo.svg
Wikiquote-logo.svg
Wikibooks-logo.svg
Wikisource-logo.svg
Wiktionary-logo-en.svg
Commons-logo.svg