A brief history of the Feminist movement in 10 points

The 20th century bought major social reforms. After centuries of oppression, women started to find a voice and stood up to fight for themselves and for issues they believed in. In a matter of decades, women changed the destiny of women in a larger part of the world. As a part of the Women’s History Month and the International Women’s Day celebrations, SheThePoeple.TV gives you a brief history of how women rights movements across the world changed our lives forever.


  • The word ‘Feminist’ was first used in t appeared in France and the Netherlands in 1872. However, women and men much before this had expresses their personal opinion demanding fair rights for women. Some of these people included, Greek philosopher Plato, French writer Christine de Pizan and Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.


  • The 18th and the 19th century bought the age of enlightenment. With philosophers, poets and writers like Nicolas de Condorcet, a French Revolutionary and Mary Wollstonecraft, writer; amongst others; works on women’s rights and their plight in the society were published for the general public.


  • Later Female journalists like Martineau and Cobbe in Britain, and Margaret Fuller in America, started to come up, inspiring others that working in professions such as these was an option, (even though it wasn’t  a respectable one at that time.)


  • By mid-nineteenth century, women in cities like London started their education and other campaigns driven by women like the ‘Ladies National Association for the Repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts and the ‘Married Women’s Property Act’ started to come up.


The Feminist Revolution Picture By: WACK

The Feminist Revolution
Picture By: WACK

  • By 1913, Feminism became a widely used term in the United States and in the coming years, issues like suffrage gained widespread attention. In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, finally granted women the right to vote.


  • During World War I and II, while most men were out, women were left back home to take care of the house and the household. During these times, women stepped out for the first time taking on jobs that had been off limits previously.


  • In the 1960’s started the second wave of feminism. With issues like suffrage championed in most modern countries, the conversation now moved on to the sexism in the cultural society. This later changed the conversation to the involvement of women in politics, sociology, history, and literature.


  • The third wave Feminism started in the 1990’s, which focused on subject like homosexuality and non-white women. It also focused on abolishing gender role expectations and stereotypes.


  • As we still struggle with a great number of gender-based social-inequalities. Women in every sector are coming up and talking about women’s rights. So it is not just a group of activists today who fight for the larger population; politicians, celebrities and the general and majority of the educated in the public today believe in equality for women and identify themselves as ‘Feminists.’


[Feature Picture Courtesy: How Stuff Works]