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DPR 525 module -4

Shobana Rajendran




no specific definition of feminism applicable to all women at all times. Dictionary Definition: Belief that women should have the same rights & opportunities as men. Belief in the social, political& economic equality of the sexes. The movement organized around this belief.

Feminism Simply put: Feminists fight for the equality of women and argue that women should share equally in societys opportunities and scare resources.

Feminism is about the oppression of women by men Barbara Goodwin Feminism aims to advance the social role of women. Feminists highlight a political relationship between men and women in which, they claim, women have been consistently subjected to the supremacy of men.

Feminists seek to challenge the unfair and unequal distribution of power and wealth in patriarchal society. A patriarchal society is one based on male rule and domination. Feminists are particularly interested in the contribution made by the media to societys dominant ideas about gender roles.

Gender Stereotypes Masculinity Femininity

Caring Nurturing Emotional Domestic Sensitive Passive Lower Soft status...poo Gentle rly paid
work childcare, nursing, teaching

Tough Providing Rational Public/work orientated Thick skinned Active Higher status...Infl Rough uential Hard roles...well
Imbalance of power paid jobs...politic al leadership

Feminists have made great progress in eroding those stereotypes.

Gender Stereotypes feminists view gender as a political construct; feminine and masculine roles have been stereotyped in patriarchal societies; the differences between men and women resulting in womens suppression are the result not of biological differences, but of socially imposed differences designed to preserve the domination of men. Gender inequalities caused and perpetuated by gender stereotyping and gendered division of labour

The goals of feminism are: The goals of feminism are:

To demonstrate the importance of women To reveal that historically women have been subordinate to men To bring about gender equity.

The goals of feminism are: Achieve gender equality through: Removing gender stereotyping and discrimination in workplace and education, and Changing laws to allow for equal opportunities in labour force and politics*

Feminist A feminist is a woman or a man who believes in feminism. Who recognizes the existence of discrimination on the basis of gender, male domination and patriarchy, and who take some action against it, is a feminist.


The lobbying by feminists all over the world has led government to calculate the money value of unpaid work done by women, thereby recognizing the contribution of women. Total value of the unpaid work done by women annually at 11 trillion US Dollars. ( Human Development Report- 1995).

The main difference between earlier feminists and present day ones. Earlier feminist fought for legal reforms for a legally equal position in society; the struggles were essentially outside the home and the family. Present day feminism is a struggle to achieve equality, dignity and freedom of choice for women, within and outside the home.

Understanding human Rights

Human Rights Convention 1948 UDHR All human rights for all UDHR- Article 1 All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.; Principle of equality Everybody , women, men, youth, children, need to know and understand their human rights as relevant to their concerns and aspirations.

Introduction to Feminist Theory

The first wave womens movement 1830 - first womens movement Seneca Falls, New York is said to be the birthplace of American feminism. Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton spearheaded the first womens Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848.

Introduction to Feminist Theory

The convention brought more than 300 people. This discussion was focused on the social, civil, and religious condition of women. The convention marked a 22 year battle to gain women the right to vote in the United States. In 1920 women won the right to vote.

The contemporary feminism movement began in the 1960s.

There are many types of Feminism Liberal feminism Radical feminism Socialist feminism Marxist feminism Cultural feminism Lesbian feminism

Liberal Feminism Mary Wollstonecraft Vindication of the Rights of Women(1792) argued for the fundamental equality of men and women. Common rational qualities. John Stuart Mill The Subjection of Women (1869). equality, shared rationality, and utilitarian approach. Betty Friedan women should not be excluded from liberal dream of autonomy and selfdetermination. None of the above seek to overturn conventional notions of gender in society.

Liberal Feminism

Historically emphasized that women and men are equal so gender should not be used as a barrier to rights and opportunities.
Commitment to social and legal reforms which will create equal opportunities for women.

Inequality stems from the denial of equal rights. The primary obstacle to equality is sexism.

Liberal Feminism
Liberal feminism is based on the liberal political thoughts Liberal feminists are concerned with extending to women the liberal of liberty, equality and justice through legal and social reforms. Inequality stems from the denial of equal rights.

Liberal Feminism

some of the main issues of liberal feminism include reproductive and abortions rights, sexual harassment, voting rights, education, affordable childcare and affordable health care.

Radical Feminists
Origins: Late 1960s New Left civil rights and anti-war protests.

Radical feminism (two major branches):

Sexual and reproductive oppression: demonstrate and change mens control of womens sexuality.
Significant and radical change is needed in society

Radical Feminists (examples.) Kate Millett The personal is political MEN, not just the patriarchy, at fault because all men benefit from womens oppression. patriarchal assumptions permeate all social institutions--including marriage, family, love, heterosexuality etc.

Radical Feminists (examples.)

Loosely organized groups calling for complete restructuring of society: Betty Friedan (NOW); Germaine Greer, Gloria Steinem, Susan Steinmetz; Pam Allen and Shulamith Firestone-the famous bra burning protest at Miss America Contest in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Sep 7, 1968. {Bra burning} Susan Brownmiller Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape Rape is the act of terror by which all men control all women

Radical Feminism Radical feminism is a philosophy emphasizing the patriarchal roots of inequality between men and women. Radical feminism views patriarchy as dividing rights, privileges and power primarily by gender, and as a result oppressing women and privileging men. Womens oppression is the most widespread.

Radical Feminism Womens oppression is the most deepest. Radical feminism considers the male controlled capitalist hierarchy, which it describes as sexist, as the defining feature of womens oppression. Refusing to reproduce is the most effective way to escape the snares Speak out against all social structures because they are created by men.

Marxist Feminism Marxist feminism arises out of the doctrines of Karl Marx. Marxist feminism states that private property, which gives rise to economic inequality, dependency, political confusion and ultimately unhealthy social relation between men and women, is the root of womens oppression in the current social context. Division of labour is related to gender role of expectations.

Marxist Feminism Womens unpaid domestic work maintains and reproduces labour force Capitalists benefit by women (wives/mothers): Raising children to become future labourers Achieve gender equality through socialism*

Socialist Feminism Combining radical feminism with Marxist analysis--There is a symbiotic relationship between capitalism and patriarchy- women get exploited twice as women and as workers ( Dual Oppression). Womens work in the domestic sphere is not valued by western society because women do not produce a tangible, tradable good.

Socialist feminism

Suggest that oppression of women is due to both patriarchy and capitalism (e.g., social class is a fundamental source of oppression). Womens work is often ignored or undervalued. Equal opportunity is impossible in a class-based society.

Socialist feminism
Agree with Marxist feminist theories but include additional component: Recognize classes constitute only one set of social relations that oppress women Second set of oppressive social relations: Patriarchy System of male domination over women Decrease gender inequality through: State-subsidies for maternal benefits and child care Equal pay for equal work*

Socialist Feminism

Views womens oppression as stemming from their work in the family and the economy Womens inferior position is the result of class-based capitalism Socialist believe that history can be made in the private sphere (home) not just the public sphere (work)

Postmodern Feminism

The basic idea is that looking to the past is no longer the way to go. We are a global economic world highlighted by technology. Looking to the past no longer applies.


First wave feminism

First wave of feminism developed in 19th century. In the US the first major event was the Womens Rights Convention in 1848 in Seneca Falls, NY It continued on until 1920 when women gained the right to vote.
Mid 19th early 20th century

First wave feminism

.Fight for social and political equality. Struggle for womens suffrage (right to vote) Key concerns included education, employment and marriage laws. Successes higher education for women, married womens property rights and the widening of access to professions such as medicine

Second wave feminism

Liberation movement of 1960s and 1970s. Characterised by struggles for equal pay, equal rights at work and better representation in public bodies such as Parliament. Access to contraception. Highly publicised activism. Miss America 1968 Stereotype of humourless, dowdy, manhating feminist.

Third Wave of Feminists

Third wave of feminism This movement is traced to the International Womens Year which launched the UN Decade of Women. It also became clear that women in different parts of the world experience discrimination differently.