Timeline of feminism in the United States

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This is a timeline of feminism in the United States. It contains feminist and antifeminist events. It should contain events within the ideologies and philosophies of feminism and antifeminism. It should, however, not contain material about changes in women's legal rights: for that, see Timeline of women's legal rights in the United States (other than voting) , or, if it concerns the right to vote, to Timeline of women's suffrage in the United States .


Timeline of feminism in the United States

19th and early 20th century

First-wave feminism was a period of feminist activity and thought, that occurred within the time period of the 19th and early 20th century throughout the world. It focused on legal issues, primarily on gaining women's suffrage (the right to vote).



The term materialist feminism emerged in the late 1970s; materialist feminism highlights capitalism and patriarchy as central in understanding women's oppression. Under materialist feminism, gender is seen as a social construct, and society forces gender roles, such as bearing children, onto women. Materialist feminism's ideal vision is a society in which women are treated socially and economically the same as men. The theory centers on social change rather than seeking transformation within the capitalist system. [6]



Third-wave feminism is associated with the emergence of riot grrrl, the feminist punk subculture, in the early 1990s in Olympia, Washington. [12] In 1991 Anita Hill testified in Washington, D.C., to an all-male, all-white Senate Judiciary Committee that Clarence Thomas, nominated for the Supreme Court of the United States, had sexually harassed her. Rebecca Walker responded to Thomas's appointment with an article in Ms. Magazine , "Becoming the Third Wave" (1992), which coined the term third wave: "Do not vote for them unless they work for us. Do not have sex with them, do not break bread with them, do not nurture them if they don't prioritize our freedom to control our bodies and our lives. I am not a post-feminism feminist. I am the Third Wave." [13] [14] The third wave focused on abolishing gender-role stereotypes and expanding feminism to include women of all races, classes and cultures. [15] [16]


Fourth-wave feminism began around 2012 and is characterized by a focus on the empowerment of women [17] and the use of internet tools, [18] and is centered on intersectionality. [19]

See also

Related Research Articles

Feminism is a range of socio-political movements and ideologies that aim to define and establish the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes. Feminism holds the position that societies prioritize the male point of view and that women are treated unjustly in these societies. Efforts to change this include fighting against gender stereotypes and improving educational, professional, and interpersonal opportunities and outcomes for women.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Betty Friedan</span> American feminist writer and activist (1921–2006)

Betty Friedan was an American feminist writer and activist. A leading figure in the women's movement in the United States, her 1963 book The Feminine Mystique is often credited with sparking the second wave of American feminism in the 20th century. In 1966, Friedan co-founded and was elected the first president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), which aimed to bring women "into the mainstream of American society now [in] fully equal partnership with men".

Liberal feminism, also called mainstream feminism, is a main branch of feminism defined by its focus on achieving gender equality through political and legal reform within the framework of liberal democracy and informed by a human rights perspective. It is often considered culturally progressive and economically center-right to center-left. As the oldest of the "Big Three" schools of feminist thought, liberal feminism has its roots in 19th century first-wave feminism seeking recognition of women as equal citizens, focusing particularly on women's suffrage and access to education, the effort associated with 19th century liberalism and progressivism. Liberal feminism "works within the structure of mainstream society to integrate women into that structure." Liberal feminism places great emphasis on the public world, especially laws, political institutions, education and working life, and considers the denial of equal legal and political rights as the main obstacle to equality. As such liberal feminists have worked to bring women into the political mainstream. Liberal feminism is inclusive and socially progressive, while broadly supporting existing institutions of power in liberal democratic societies, and is associated with centrism and reformism. Liberal feminism tends to be adopted by white middle-class women who do not disagree with the current social structure; Zhang and Rios found that liberal feminism with its focus on equality is viewed as the dominant and "default" form of feminism. Liberal feminism actively supports men's involvement in feminism and both women and men have always been active participants in the movement; progressive men had an important role alongside women in the struggle for equal political rights since the movement was launched in the 19th century.

Equality feminism is a subset of the overall feminism movement and more specifically of the liberal feminist tradition that focuses on the basic similarities between men and women, and whose ultimate goal is the equality of both genders in all domains. This includes economic and political equality, equal access within the workplace, freedom from oppressive gender stereotyping, and an androgynous worldview.

This is an index of articles related to the issue of feminism, women's liberation, the women's movement, and women's rights.

The history of feminism comprises the narratives of the movements and ideologies which have aimed at equal rights for women. While feminists around the world have differed in causes, goals, and intentions depending on time, culture, and country, most Western feminist historians assert that all movements that work to obtain women's rights should be considered feminist movements, even when they did not apply the term to themselves. Some other historians limit the term "feminist" to the modern feminist movement and its progeny, and use the label "protofeminist" to describe earlier movements.

Second-wave feminism was a period of feminist activity that began in the early 1960s and lasted roughly two decades before ushering in a third wave of feminism beginning in the early 1990s. It took place throughout the Western world, and aimed to increase equality for women by building on previous feminist gains in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lesbian feminism</span> Feminist movement

Lesbian feminism is a cultural movement and critical perspective that encourages women to focus their efforts, attentions, relationships, and activities towards their fellow women rather than men, and often advocates lesbianism as the logical result of feminism. Lesbian feminism was most influential in the 1970s and early 1980s, primarily in North America and Western Europe, but began in the late 1960s and arose out of dissatisfaction with the New Left, the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, sexism within the gay liberation movement, and homophobia within popular women's movements at the time. Many of the supporters of Lesbianism were actually women involved in gay liberation who were tired of the sexism and centering of gay men within the community and lesbian women in the mainstream women's movement who were tired of the homophobia involved in it.

<i>The Feminine Mystique</i> 1963 book by Betty Friedan

The Feminine Mystique is a book by Betty Friedan, widely credited with sparking second-wave feminism in the United States. First published by W. W. Norton on February 19, 1963, The Feminine Mystique became a bestseller, initially selling over a million copies. Friedan used the book to challenge the widely shared belief that "fulfillment as a woman had only one definition for American women after 1949—the housewife-mother."

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chicana feminism</span> Sociopolitical movement

Chicana feminism is a sociopolitical movement, theory, and praxis that scrutinizes the historical, cultural, spiritual, educational, and economic intersections impacting Chicanas and the Chicana/o community in the United States. Chicana feminism empowers women to challenge institutionalized social norms and regards anyone a feminist who fights for the end of women's oppression in the community.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">National Organization for Women</span> American feminist organization

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is an American feminist organization. Founded in 1966, it is legally a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization. The organization consists of 550 chapters in all 50 U.S. states and in Washington, D.C. It is the largest feminist organization in the United States with around 500,000 members. NOW is regarded as one of the main liberal feminist organizations in the US, and primarily lobbies for gender equality within the existing political system. NOW campaigns for constitutional equality, economic justice, reproductive rights, LGBTQIA+ rights and racial justice, and against violence against women.

Equity feminism is a form of liberal feminism that advocates the state's equal treatment of women and men without challenging inequalities perpetuated by employers, educational and religious institutions, and other elements of society. The concept has been discussed since the 1980s. Equity feminism has been defined and classified as a kind of classically liberal or libertarian feminism, in contrast with social feminism, difference feminism, gender feminism, and equality feminism.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Women's Strike for Equality</span> 1970 strike by women in the US

The Women's Strike for Equality was a strike which took place in the United States on August 26, 1970. It celebrated the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment, which effectively gave American women the right to vote. The rally was sponsored by the National Organization for Women (NOW). Estimates ranged as high as 50,000 women at the protest in New York City and more protested throughout the country. At this time, the gathering was the largest on behalf of women in the United States. The strike, spearheaded by Betty Friedan, self-stated three primary goals: free abortion on demand, equal opportunity in the workforce, and free childcare. The strike also advocated for other second wave feminist goals more generally, such as political rights for women, and social equality in relationships such as marriage.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Feminism in the United States</span> History of the feminist movement in the USA

Feminism is aimed at defining, establishing, and defending a state of equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women. It has had a massive influence on American politics. Feminism in the United States is often divided chronologically into first-wave, second-wave, third-wave, and fourth-wave feminism.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Feminist movements and ideologies</span>

A variety of movements of feminist ideology have developed over the years. They vary in goals, strategies, and affiliations. They often overlap, and some feminists identify themselves with several branches of feminist thought.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chicana literature</span> Form of literature that has emerged from the Chicana Feminist movement

Chicana literature is a form of literature that has emerged from the Chicana Feminist movement. It aims to redefine Chicana archetypes in an effort to provide positive models for Chicanas. Chicana writers redefine their relationships with what Gloria Anzaldúa has called "Las Tres Madres" of Mexican culture by depicting them as feminist sources of strength and compassion.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The personal is political</span> Political slogan and argument of second-wave feminism

The personal is political, also termed The private is political, is a political argument used as a rallying slogan of student movement and second-wave feminism from the late 1960s. In the context of the feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s, it was a challenge to the nuclear family and family values. The phrase was popularized by the publication of a 1969 essay by feminist Carol Hanisch under the title "The Personal Is Political" in 1970, and has been repeatedly described as a defining characterization of second-wave feminism, radical feminism, women's studies, or feminism in general. It has also been used by some women artists as the underlying philosophy for their art practice.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Feminist movement</span> Series of political campaigns for reforms on feminist issues

The feminist movement, also known as the women's movement, refers to a series of social movements and political campaigns for radical and liberal reforms on women's issues created by the inequality between men and women. Such issues are women's liberation, reproductive rights, domestic violence, maternity leave, equal pay, women's suffrage, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. The movement's priorities have expanded since its beginning in the 1800s, and vary among nations and communities. Priorities range from opposition to female genital mutilation in one country, to opposition to the glass ceiling in another.

The following is a timeline of the history of feminism.

Hijas de Cuauhtémoc was a student Chicana feminist newspaper founded in 1971 by Anna Nieto-Gómez and Adelaida Castillo while both were students at California State University, Long Beach.


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  2. "Publication of "The Feminine Mystique" by Betty Friedan - Jewish Women's Archive". jwa.org.
  3. Sarah Gamble, ed. The Routledge companion to feminism and postfeminism (2001) p. 25
  4. Boling, Patricia (2011). "On Learning to Teach Fat Feminism". Feminist Teacher. 21 (2): 110–123. doi:10.5406/femteacher.21.2.0110. ISSN   0882-4843. JSTOR   10.5406/femteacher.21.2.0110. S2CID   143946770.
  5. "Exploring the Chicana Feminist Movement". The University of Michigan. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  6. Jackson, Stevi (May–August 2001). "Why a materialist feminism is (Still) Possible—and necessary". Women's Studies International Forum. 24 (3–4): 283–293. doi:10.1016/S0277-5395(01)00187-X.
  7. Voet, Rian (1998). Feminism and Citizenship. SAGE Publications Ltd.
  8. Grande Jensen, Pamela. Finding a New Feminism: Rethinking the Woman Question for Liberal Democracy. p. 3.
  9. Black, Naomi (1989). Social Feminism. Cornell University Press. ISBN   9780801422614.
  10. 1 2 Halfmann, Jost (July 28, 1989). "3. Social Change and Political Mobilization in West Germany". In Katzenstein, Peter J. (ed.). Industry and Politics in West Germany: Toward the Third Republic. Cornell University Press. p. 79. ISBN   0801495954. Equity-feminism differs from equality-feminism
  11. "Liberal Feminism". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. October 18, 2007. Retrieved February 24, 2016. (revised 30 September 2013)
  12. Piepmeier, Alison (2009). Girl Zines: Making Media, Doing Feminism. New York: New York University Press. p. 45.
  13. Walker, Rebecca (January 1992). "Becoming the Third Wave" (PDF). Ms. : 39–41. ISSN   0047-8318. OCLC   194419734. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 15, 2017. Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  14. Baumgardner, Jennifer; Richards, Amy (2000). Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future . New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p.  77. ISBN   978-0-374-52622-1.
  15. Hewitt, Nancy (2010). No Permanent Waves . Rutgers University Press. pp.  99. ISBN   978-0-8135-4724-4.
  16. Tong, Rosemarie (2009). Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction (Third ed.). Boulder: Westview Press. pp. 284–285, 289. ISBN   978-0-8133-4375-4. OCLC   156811918.
  17. Abrahams, Jessica (August 14, 2017). "Everything you wanted to know about fourth wave feminism—but were afraid to ask". Prospect. Archived from the original on November 17, 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  18. Grady, Constance (March 20, 2018). "The waves of feminism, and why people keep fighting over them, explained". Vox. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  19. Munro, Ealasaid (September 2013). "Feminism: A Fourth Wave?". Political Insight. 4 (2): 22–25. doi:10.1111/2041-9066.12021. S2CID   142990260. Republished as Munro, Ealasaid (September 5, 2013). "Feminism: A fourth wave?". The Political Studies Association. Archived from the original on December 2, 2018. Retrieved December 1, 2018. / "Feminism: A fourth wave? | The Political Studies Association (PSA)". Feminism: A fourth wave? | The Political Studies Association (PSA). Retrieved June 27, 2020.