The History Of Feminism Sociology Essay

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Feminism is the movement aimed at equal rights for women. Feminists fight for the equality of women and argue that women should also get equal opportunities to flourish and achieve their goals. Women today enjoy greater freedom and more opportunities than their counterparts of the past. Today the liberty and freedom womenfolk enjoys is because of the tireless efforts of feminists to give women their much needed rights to survive in a male dominant society. A society where male members had all the luxuries and opportunities available to them depriving women of their basic right just because they were women. Gender equality is not a matter of opinion; it is an inherent attribute of humanity that society has deprived us of.

"I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat." 

(Rebecca West) (Offen, 2012)


Feminism is closely engaged with the social world. Feminist theorists tend to be women who theorize about their own experiences and interaction, it is concerned with the everyday lives and experiences of women and their social interactions, and it is often connected to women's groups, social reform, and broad social and political movements, organizations, and institutions. Over the last many years, Feminists have made a major contribution to social theory, making people aware of issues relating women that were previously ignored.  Feminist revolution began in 18th century to counter the injustice going on against the women. This movement or the revolution progressed in three waves. 

First-wave feminism was oriented around the station of middle- or upper-class white women and involved suffrage and political equality.

 Second-wave feminism attempted to further combat social and cultural inequalities.

 Third-wave feminism includes renewed campaigning for women's greater influence in politics. (Sarachild, 1979)

Feminism in today's world:

Today we see women in almost every field. Today they are doctors, pilots, engineers, businessmen and to top it all head of the states. They are working, they are progressing and they are making names for themselves. Even in a country like Pakistan where the situation is not very stable for a perfect lifestyle with bombings and killing going on and where we are living in a war like situation, with religious fascists roaming the streets and killing people in the name of Allah, womenfolk is trying to make a place for itself in the society. Pakistan gave first women Prime Minister to the Muslim world and produced geniuses like Arfa Karim, Shrmin Chunnai and Malala Yusufzai. Today's confident looking, headstrong woman still fear for her survival in the society. Even with so many efforts and so many movements, even today a wedge can be seen within the two genders. Our societies are still male dominant and still men get to have the maximum opportunities.

Today's media has portrayed women as nothing but a decoration item. Women are presented as an attraction to allure people. Several ads are being aired on television where one can see scantily dressed women smiling and explaining the advantages of having a certain product as if you entire survival depends on it. Our people, despite having narrow minds, would jump to whatever she says not because the product is appealing but the girl before them is appealing enough to make them realize the importance of what they dont have as yet. This has not only effected the male population but has reinforced an ideal image that girls are to strive for and attain; therefore placing more emphasis on good looks than on good works. Fashion and the film industry are two huge influences on societal expectations that women display their bodies sexually.

Even women in professional fields are also of the view that they are not given equal chances and are deprived of their bonus and promotions only because their male counterparts cannot stand the sight of a woman making progress and leaving them behind. The basic idea of Feminist Revolution was to give women equal opportunities in various fields of life and to put an end to all the injustice going on against them which included women being treated as sex-objects. Unfortunately in a society like ours where we do not hesitate to kill each other over petty things, do not mind watching a lady in certain television commercials. Media must play a positive role in initiating positive incentives for women so that women are not reduced to a level of sex object.

This world is in dire need of feminism because absolutely no one should feel like they have to take negative criticism from anyone, dreams should not be gender-dependant, everyone deserves a chance at realizing their dreams free from discrimination, and seeing inner strength in women should be her brains and not how she looks like.

Domestic violence is yet an issue that needs to be addressed. In a society like Pakistan where girls are married as per their parents choices often find themselves in the worst of situations. They have to put up with situations where they are treated as a lower being and inferiors. This often ends up with women losing the battle of their lives. If anything as feminism prevails in Pakistani society it must first solve the issues of these women who suffer at the hands of their husbands and in laws. They are beaten and abused and a treated as a mere servant where they have to sacrifice their ego and self respect. Though domestic violence bill has been passed and there is hope that thing would change but nothing can be said for sure. There is a strong need for female rights to be advocated and a society is created where women and men can live in harmony.

From the religious perspective, we see that Allah has emphasized on the fact that both men and women are equal and the only thing that separates them is their good deeds. Though women are the frailer of the two genders but that doesn't make them the inferior. (linon, 2010)

A Timeline of the Women's Rights Movement 1848 - 1998

1848, in Seneca Falls NY, world's first convention was held 68 women and 32 men signed its declaration for the upcoming women rights agenda.

1849, in trousers rather known as ''bloopers'' on the streets of Seneca Falls for the support of this agenda .She was quite substance of what her perspective was on this very matter.

1850, Quaker gave the chance to women for studying medicine by establishing first woman medical college in Pennsylvania.

1855, Lucy stoner kept her first name after marriage setting a trend which afterwards was known as Lucy stoners.

1855, the university of Iowa became the first school to admit woman.

1859, American association announces an opposition to abortion. In 1860 Connecticut declared officially abortion to be prohibited after and before quickening.

1859, the birthrate continues to hover down as the use of condoms was increased and thus the proportionality of a women to have children was then to be two to three.

1866, 14th amendment was passed by the Congress and the voters were described as in gender to be ''MALE''.

1866, the American equal rights foundation is established, the first organization in US which was an advocate to women suffrage.

1868, There was a resolution passed that woman should have an equal pay for equal work

1868, Elizabeth Candy and Susan Anthony began to publish the revolution.

1872, Charlotte E ray became the first African American to be accepted in a bar.

1873 Bradwell v. Illinois, Supreme Court affirms that the state can restrict any woman from practicing any profession for the betterment and to keep the rule of the creator.

1877 Helen Magill is the first woman to receive a Ph.D. at a US school, a doctorate in Greek from Boston University.

The timeline goes on to 1996 where US woman's spectacular success let them win them 19 gold medals , 9 silver and 8 bronze which was nothing more but a treat for the people supporting women to take part in all walks of life. (Timeline: Woman's Rights and Feminism (U.S.), 2012)


Feminist revolution was a need of the time. Women were being oppressed and their rights denied. This revolution made them regain their position in society. It cannot be denied that men and women are an integral part of the society and no society can progress unless both male and female perform their duties efficiently and effectively. And in doing so it must not be forget that women are not the lesser breed and are capable of doing anything that men can if only equal opportunities are given to them.

"Women make up one half of society. Our society will remain backward and in chains unless its women are liberated, enlightened and educated."  (Saddam Hussein) 


linon, J. (2010, 04). Modern feminism: an evaluation. Retrieved from

Offen, K. (2012, 02 24). Defining Feminism: A Comparative Historical Approach. Retrieved from .

Sarachild, K. (1979). FEMINIST REVOLUTION . Retrieved from

Timeline: Woman's Rights and Feminism (U.S.). (2012, 08 15). Retrieved from