Feminism Essay Example

  • Category:
    Sociology
  • Document type:
    Essay
  • Level:
    High School
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Feminism

Introduction

Feminist theory emerged from the feminist movement and it advocates for the rights of the women. Feminist movements have evolved over a period of time. The feminist theory also tends to address other issues such as discrimination and gender inequality which has been rampant in the society for a long period of time. During the earlier times, feminism was only concerned with the rights of the white women and the middle class. However, this changed for the purposes of ensuring that it represents all the women in the society. This led to the formation of the multiculturalists’ form of feminism. The feminist activities have always played an essential role in campaigning for the women rights. This has led to success in owning of properties by the women contract laws and voting rights for the women (Butler, 2011). The movement has also led to an achievement in women suffrage, gender neutrality and equal rights for the women. The reproductive rights of the women have also been achieved by the campaigns of the feminist groups. Through the efforts of the feminist movements, the women have been protected from gender violence, domestic violence and sexual harassment. This is considering that the vices are still evident in some of the societies today. Discrimination against women in terms of employment is still evident in the society today and hence the importance of the feminist movement. The ills against women that are still taking place on the society today indicates that the movements are still evident in the modern day society and hence the relevance of feminism. The paper answers the questions of how feminism is still relevant today and the impacts of feminist in the past.

Literature review

Impacts of feminism in the past

Feminism has had different impacts on the society since the feminist movements were established. Feminism can be grouped into three waves depending on the time-frame that the processes were taking place. Each of the waves had a different impact on the society. During the first wave of feminism, it influenced positively on the promotion of equal contract, marriage, property rights and parenting. This was however in the United States of America and United Kingdom. This was through the active campaigns of the feminist movements. On the other hand, the sexual and reproductive rights were also achieved for the women during the period. Feminism also led to the introduction of the rights of the women to vote in New Zealand and Australia in the late nineteenth century. The women were also allowed to stand for parliamentary office in Australia in the early twentieth century after the female suffrage was granted in 1902. The pressure from the feminist groups in the United States of America contributed in the nineteenth Amendment which gave all the women the rights to vote (Nicholson, 2013). In China, the feminist movements also played an essential role in ensuring that the women were integrated in the workforce. On the other hand, the traditional role of women was also changed due to the efforts of the feminist movements. In Egypt, the feminist movement contributed to the nationalism. In Iran, the feminism contributed to the equality of the women in terms of education, marriage, legal rights and careers.

The feminism movement has also contributed to the working rights for the women in France. Initially, the women were supposed to work under permission of their husbands. However, it changed in 1965 during the second wave of feminism. The full control of husbands over their wives was also common until the twentieth century. This gave women little or no say when it came to the family issues. The second wave of feminism also impacted positively on the political and economic inequalities. The second wave of feminism mainly focused on the issues of inequality among the women as compared to the issues of suffrage. The discrimination of women in Egypt based on gender was outlawed due to the pressure from the feminist groups. The quality of life of the women was also changed in Latin America due to feminism. This resulted to the participation of the women in more issues affecting the society including politics. However, it is also important to note that the second wave of feminism was not able to change ideologies of the people on the issues regarding the women. The third wave of feminism played an essential role in ensuring that the women were empowered. This was also as a result o the failures of the second wave of feminism. The feminism concepts also played an essential role in ensuring that the interpretation of gender and equality was achieved in the society. The post-structuralisms concepts were also included in the third wave of feminism (Kuhn, 2012).

The third wave of feminism also played an essential role in ensuring that the women were able to achieve equality in terms of race. This is considering that inequality among the women in terms of race was still evident. This impacted positively on the abilities of the women to work freely in different parts of the world. In many countries, the women occupy leadership positions. This was not common in the past as leadership positions were reserved for men. On the developing countries where women were not allowed to occupy the leadership positions in the past have had significant improvements (Rowbotham, 2013). The election of women to the leadership positions has played an essential role in impacting positively on the leadership. Feminism has also been able to address different global issues facing the society such as rape, incest and prostitutions. This is because these issues have negative impacts on the growth and development of the women. Groups have been formed for the purposes of ensuring that women who undergo rape are offered guidance and counseling. Through the feminist campaigns, women have been liberated prostitution through being empowered economically. The education for women has been impacted positively in most of the developing countries due to the feminism campaigns. Cultural specific issues have also been dealt with through the feminism campaigns. This includes the issues of female genital mutilation which is common in some of the cultures in Asia and Africa. Feminism has thus played an essential role in ensuring that the women are empowered.

Feminism has also impacted positively on the leadership of the women in their religious organizations. In the past, the women were not allowed to occupy leadership positions in the church and other religions. However, due to the campaigns by the feminist movements, the women are now allowed to occupy senior positions in most of the churches. In some of the churches, the women are currently ordained ministers and they are treated equally as the men. Islamic feminism has also been introduced among the Muslims for the purposes of ensuring that the welfare of Muslim women is taken care of. Jewish feminism has also been introduced in the Jewish society for the purposes of ensuring that legal and social statues are enhanced. The oppression of women by the religions has thus been reduced by the concepts of feminism. On the other hand, it is also important to note that the commitment to equality has been through the influence of feminism. The concepts of masculinity in the society have been identified as the main factor that impacts negatively on feminism (Brooks, 2013). Through the feminist movements, the women have been able to influence the men to supports feminism. This has impacted positively on the process as men have been involved in the oppression of women and promotion of gender inequality. The pro-feminist groups that have been developed among the men have also played an essential role in ensuring that the men are aware of the issues that are facing the women. This has contributed to the decrease in the inequality that is usually faced by the women in the society.

It is also important to note that feminism has also played an important role in ensuring that the society has been revolutionalized. This has been achieved through changing the mindset of the people in the society. On the other hand, it is also important to note that the concepts of feminism have also been met with some resistance from the people who are opposed to it. This impacted negatively on the gains that have been made by the feminists’ movements. Feminism has also impacted positively on the society in terms of human rights for the women. In the areas where women face violation of human rights, the feminists’ movements have always been on the forefront in fighting for the rights of the women. This has led to the development of the policies by the government that has impacted positively on the rights of the women. Some people have however argued that feminism has impacted negatively on the society. The women are free to divorce their husbands due to the promotion of feminism which has ensured that the women have more rights (Hennessy, 2012). Other women have become independent due to the enlightenment by feminism. This has impacted negatively on the social live of the people involved. On the other hand, it is also important to note that the people who are opposed feminism are against its concepts as it is against some of the religious beliefs and traditions. The negative impacts of feminism are however minimal as it has led to a lot of achievements to the women in the society.

Relevance of Feminism Today

Although a lot of gains have been made in the past due to feminism, a wide gap still exists between the men and women. The inequality is still evident in moat of the developing countries and some of the developed countries. In terms of leadership, there exists a gap between the men and the women in the society. Although the women are currently allowed to hold leadership positions allover the world, the number of women in senior position is still low. This is despite the qualifications that the women have and hence the relevance of feminism today. On the other hand, the hand a wide gap still exists in the society when it comes to education. The girl child is usually denied the access to education in some of the countries and hence impacting negatively on their future. International organizations like the United Nations has also recognized the gap between the boys and girls and hence the development of the millennium development goal on equal access to education. Feminism is still relevant today since most of its goals and objectives have not been achieved in the current society despite the awareness that has been created in the society (Digby, 2013). It is also important to note that feminism still plays an essential role in ensuring that the women issues are dealt with in the society. Continuous awareness of the issues affecting women is still relevant in the society today and hence the relevance of feminism today.

In the world today, armed conflicts are still taking place in different countries. The women are usually affected by the armed conflicts as rape is usually rampant. Rape is currently being used as a weapon of silencing the women. On the other hand, rape is used for demoralizing the opposition (Grant, 2013). In other incidences, the women are usually taken as sex slaves. This is an indication that women are still treated as objects in the world today. This is one of the areas that have been of concern since the beginning of the feminist movements. During the armed conflicts, the women are usually afraid of reporting the rape cases for fear of their lives. This is also considering that the security personnel may also be involved in the crime. In some of the countries the women will themselves be victimized if they report the rape cases. Feminism is thus relevant in the modern society for the purpose of defending the rights of the women who are the victims of rape during the armed conflicts. Speaking out against the crime is also required in the modern society as it still takes place even in areas with no armed conflicts. This is an indication that the rights of the women are still being violated and hence the need of intervention by the feminist groups. In some instances, the feminist groups have played an essential role in offering legal guidance and support to the women who are victims of rape. Defending the rights of the women is still required in the modern society due to the violations taking place.

The representation of women in most of the governments and big businesses is still low. This is despite having the same qualifications as their male counterparts. This is an indication that bias still exists in the governments and the big business organization. Most of the government and big business discriminate against the women as they are considered inferior to the men. This is despite the impressive performance that most of the women in leadership have posted. The discrimination against the women when it comes to leadership is one of the areas that feminists movements intended to tackle in the past. Feminism is thus required in the modern time due to the problems that are continuously being faced by the women in the society. On the other hand, the powerful positions in the government are usually allocated to the men. This is despite the failure of most of the men to deliver on the requirements of the position. Discrimination in government is currently being used for the purpose of sabotaging the efforts of the women who are in leadership position (Penley, 2013). The higher number of men in the government gives them more advantage when it comes to making decisions which may be against the women. Feminism is thus required for the purpose of pressuring the governments to give equal opportunities to the women in the government. This will play an essential role in ensuring that the women in government are able to agitate for the better treatment of the women in the society.

Although the society is transforming, some challenges are still evident when it comes to the treatment of the women in the society. The girls are usually taught to be silent and motherly while the boys are usually taught to be strong and assertive. This negatively affects the women as they are continuously being regarded as inferior to the men. It also impacts negatively on the mentality of the women and this discourages them from fighting for their rights. This means that more awareness is still needed in the society for the purposes of championing for the rights of the women. In most of the professions a lot of inequalities still exist. Women are usually discourages from taking certain jobs as it is considered tough for them. In some instances, the women are usually discouraged to take certain profession courses at the higher institutions of learning. This includes professions like engineering and medicine (Ryan, 2013). The women who take such professions usually find it difficult to secure jobs as the employers have little trust on the women. The efforts of feminist groups are thus required in order to ensure that the women can be given equal opportunities when it comes to the different professions. The feminist groups should also pressure the learning institutions and employers to provide equal opportunities for the women.

The women in the society are still facing problems with regards to the areas of reproductive health. Most of the women in the developing countries are not familiar with the concepts of reproductive health. This is common in the developing countries as it has forced most of the women to give birth to a higher number of children which is against their wish. On the other hand, it is also important to note that the problems of reproductive health have negative impacts on the women in the rural areas. The child mortality rates are also high among in most of the developing countries. This is due to the lack of adequate information among the women regarding the concepts of maternal health. The women in some of the continents are also not empowered to make proper decisions with regards to the reproductive health. This is due to the dominance of the men in the society. The initial goals of the feminist movements were to ensure that the women have adequate information regarding the reproductive health. On the other hand, it is also important to note that sex education among the teenagers and the youth is not adequate. Feminism is thus required for the purpose of ensuring that the youthful women obtain adequate information regarding sex education. This will enable them make informed decisions and hence prevent the unwanted pregnancy and contraction of sexually transmitted diseases (Rowbotham, 2013).

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is evident that feminism has played an essential role in improving the lives of the women across the globe. The early concepts of feminism were for the porpoises of ensuring that the women suffrage issues are dealt with. On the other hand, it is also evident that feminism played an essential role in ensuring that the discrimination of the women is eliminated in the society. The voting right of the women in most of the countries was also achieved through the pressure from the feminist groups. On the other hand, it is also important to note that the activism of the feminist groups played an essential role in ensuring that women are give equal opportunities as men. This is in terms of the leadership positions including the leadership positions in the churches. However, feminism has been blamed for the rising cases of divorce and independence among the women. Although the feminism concepts were useful in the past, they are still relevant today. This is for the purposes of protecting the women against rape, unequal representation in the governments and discrimination in institutions of higher learning and jobs. Feminism is also required for the purpose of enabling the education of the women on matters of reproductive health.

List of References

Kuhn, A, 2012, Feminism and Materialism (RLE Feminist Theory): Women and Modes of Production, Routledge, London.

Rowbotham, S, 2013, Beyond the fragments: feminism and the making of socialism, Merlin Press, New York

Butler, J, 2011, Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity, routledge.

Nicholson, L, 2013, Feminism/postmodernism, Routledge.

Brooks, A, 2013, Postfeminisms: Feminism, cultural theory and cultural forms, Routledge.

Hennessy, R, 2012, Materialist Feminism and the Politics of Discourse (RLE Feminist Theory), Routledge, London.

Digby, T, 2013, Men doing feminism, Routledge, London.

Grant, J, 2013, Fundamental feminism: Contesting the core concepts of feminist theory, Routledge, London.

Penley, C, 2013, Feminism and film theory, Routledge, London.

Ryan, B, 2013, Feminism and the women’s movement: Dynamics of change in social movement ideology and activism, Routledge, London.

Rowbotham, S, 2013, Women in movement: Feminism and social action, Routledge, London.