First wave feminism:
This wave of feminism began in the 1800s and lasted through to the early twentieth century. Though there were women fighting for equality long before that, this was the first time a large, organised movement had been formed. This wave of feminism was focused around  inequalities, such as education, employment, marriage laws (divorce and child custody laws), property rights and healthcare. However, this movement is most famous for their fight for suffrage. This movement is usually said to have ended when women gained the right to vote.

Second wave feminism:
Second wave feminism began in the early 1960s and many claim that it ended in the late 1980s with the Feminist Sex Wars (a division between the ‘anti-pornography’ feminists and the ‘sex-positive’ feminists). This wave was concerned with unofficial inequalities, and the link that they had with legally mandated inequalities. One could not change without the other. Their focus was on the sexist structures of power: again in the workplace (a strong focus on pay gaps), in the family, in education, and, more controversially, reproductive rights. While this movement did have many successes, it was seen by some to have ultimately to have failed in its goals. This is when the third wave of feminism arose.

Third wave feminism:
Third wave feminism is similar to second wave feminism, but looks at it from the view of all, rather than simply the white middle-class women who seemed to have dominated second-wave feminism. Differences had arisen before the “end” of the second movement between social feminism, black feminism, liberal feminism and lesbian feminism, all of which the third wave is trying to address. The focus of third wave feminism has been criticised as being too broad; the focus being to fight all inequalities that women face simply because of their economic status, age, sexual orientation, gender and race.

~ by hmsteel on February 11, 2013.

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