Feminism and Its Rise

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The history of feminism had started yet before suffragists came out to the London streets. Its roots go back as far as Ancient Greece. Plato’s The Republic was probably the first written text to mention the inequality in functions of men and women that impaired the philosopher’s perfect state. Despite the very restricted role of women in the ancient society, they made surprisingly strong characters of Greek myths.

Everything began in the 19th century. Having been excluded from public affairs for ages, women became tired of the male pressure. Wives of rich men were abused by their husbands, and poor women of the low and middle class watched their men wasting money in pubs. Deprived of any rights for own children or property, women concluded the first Women’s Rights Convention in New York, 1848. Women’s rights advocates met regularly in Great Britain, where females were even more disadvantaged.

The first win of the feminists was the Representation of the People Act (1918) that granted the vote to British women over 30 who owned houses. In 1919, the US Constitution granted voting rights for women in all states. Later, feminist revised their social and political inequalities. Employed women required extra protection in the workplace. Also, they needed better education to find their place in society. The Equal Right Amendment to the US Constitution passed to the Congress in 1972 guaranteed equal property, employment and more rights to people irrespective of their sex.

As the second wave of feminism failed to end discrimination in 1960s-80s, the third wave challenged the supremacy of white upper-middle-class women in the movement. Racial discrimination, sexual minority status, reproductive rights, and domestic violence became prior issues since the late 20th century. In 2011, the Council of Europe adopted the Istanbul Convention that condemned violence against women. In 2012, the government of Argentina recognized gender identity of transgender people that is also considered as a victory of the present-day feminism.