A belief system is a shared system, of beliefs and values that systematically define a way of perceiving the social, cultural

, physical and physiological world. They are universal phenomena. Core feminism is a non religious belief system which is the theory that men and women should be equal politically, economically and socially. Feminism is very much a western middle class belief system. The feminist movement can be broken down into waves; first wave (late nineteenth century), second wave (1960's) and third wave (1990's). Gender, masculinity and feminity are all social constructs; therefore they are subject to change and continuity over time, particularly concerning the roles of power, technology and gender. First wave feminism in Australia which began in the late nineteenth century was primarily concerned with suffrage for women (the right to vote), women's access to politics and access to education. The struggle for the vote, was a slow social change, but was a sign of women's needs to be treated as citizens of a country, but also to gain access to the 'public sphere'. Prior to gaining suffrage, women were confined to the 'private sphere' and the traditional gender stereotypes of 'housewives' and the social construct of femininity. The traditional power structures of society played a large role in the first wave, as it was tradition that defined the feminist argument, the struggle against oppression and access to a gateway into the 'public sphere'. The right to vote gave way to women's involvement in public life and participation in politics. Globalization of feminism had begun as suffrage became a worldwide demand. The British 'suffragettes' began to demonstrate in the streets, and Chinese women invaded their countries parliament in 1912. New Zealand became the first country to allow vote for women, followed by Australia in 1902. It is considered that 'first wave feminism turned women into citizens by granting them the right to vote (Jensen 1996). This gave women social power, access to a level of political involvement and statues in the macro world. The second feminist wave aimed to challenge the patriarchal hierarchy that existed in both the public and private spheres. Traditional feminism named the family as the key source of male domination and female oppression, and feminist writers such as Kate Miller later stated that 'the patriarchal nature of society therefore merely reflects and reinforces male domination in the home (Millet, 1971). The second wave began in the 1960's, and it drew attention to a wide range of previously marginalized issues. 'The assumption that women are naturally different from men is fundamental to the history of Western civilization' (Weddon). Women began networks of 'consciousness raising' which was enhanced by technological advances in the media which granted access to larger groups of women globally. They aimed to create non hierarchical organizations that would empower women all over the world. This made women aware that they were loosing out under traditional stereotypes. It also made them aware of their oppression under the patriarchal hierarchy. This wave moved away from liberalisms equality on the basis of sameness and focused instead on the differences between men and women. Feminists in Australia, the UK and the US struggled for equal pay, equal access to education and equal job opportunities, free contraception and the right to abortion. 'As well as producing new 'feminist' theories which sort to challenge

'man made' knowledge, these theories were also aimed to produce strategies for transforming existing institutions and practices' (Weeedon, 1987). Technology played a major role in the second wave, as it became a change in women's social power. The TV and media acted as an agent to spread feminist ideology to a global level. Industrial technology, such as fork lifts, allowed women to carry out even the most physically demanding jobs, giving them an opening to the public sphere. Medical technology, such as the pill, allowed women to have control over their own sexuality and bodies in the private sphere. Women's values changed, as they had greater access to the workforce and more control in their public lives. Tradition also continued to play a large role during the second wave of feminism, as women were gaining access to the 'public' sphere, but were also expected to perform the same domestic duties. The third wave of feminism, in the 1980's, shows us that there are still areas of the public sphere to which women do not have complete access. Third wave is largely concerned with economic equality in the workplace, and women's ability to enter the public sphere. Technology also played a major role in third wave feminism, with the introduction and wide spread use of the internet as this gave information access to women worldwide. This enabled women to create 'universal sisterhood' as a global link of the struggles for equality, giving women power. Technology also has negative impacts as the media still largely stereotypes women in sit-coms. While the workplace is more openly accepting of women, continuity still exists as women are yet to achieve total equality. The term 'glass ceiling' communicated women's struggles to climb the ranks of the workplace hierarchy as positions of power and authority are held predominately by men. 'In every case it is a men – not women – who hold the power, and men who are in a position to make changes' (fridan, 1981). This is also the idea of women being confronting the 'duel burden' of paid work and domestic work. With changes in the Accepted social norms women were able to enter the public sphere, but were still expected to maintain their traditional roles in the home and family. Feminism is a non religious belief system that, over time, has become subject to continuity and change. This relates largely to the significant roles played by power, technology and gender, both positive and negative. Change has occurred on many levels throughout the three waves of feminism, especially in women gaining access to the workplace and the 'public sphere'. Continuity exists in the need for an ongoing feminist movement, and the social inequalities of men and women, and the presence of gender stereotypes in society.