Feminism includes both the social and political movements or beliefs in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. It is against patriarchy, a social system where males hold power.

Feminist theory can be sorted into 4 main categories:

Liberal feminism
Marxist feminism
Radical feminism
Postmodern feminism

History of feminism

First wave feminism

While the origins of feminist movement can be traced back to the 14th century, which existed mainly in the form of literature, feminist activity became popularized in the late 18th century. Forming a series of feminist groups in many western countries, this movement would later earn itself the name of 1st wave feminism, which would last until the early 19th century.

1st wave feminism mainly focused on suffrage issues; while many feminist groups have much broader aims such as birth control and other women's social issues, these aims proved to be very divisive, therefore the attention given to these aims were reduced in favour of suffrage.

1st wave feminism almost solely involved white middle-class women.

Second wave feminism

Second wave feminism refers to a period of feminist movement during the 1960s to 1980s; different from 1st wave feminism, second wave feminism focused on a wide range of issues, including equality in the family and the workplace, reproductive rights, and legal inequalities.

While 2nd feminism has been criticised for ignoring working-class women and lesbian women, it was more widespread compared to 1st wave feminism, being popular throughout the world.

Third wave feminism

Third wave feminism began in the 1990s and is generally viewed as continuing until now. It is often seen as an address to the failures of 2nd wave feminism, as it recognized that "women are of"many colors, ethnicities, nationalities, religions, and cultural backgrounds".

Third wave feminism focuses mainly on abolishing traditional gender roles and stereotypes, which it aims to achieve by advocating relevant regulations.

How do I use this in an exam?

Past paper questions

9699/21/M/J/14 - Question 3


Examples of feminist societies:

4th Wave Feminism

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