“Women’s rights are human right”, Hillary Clinton had a famous speech in United Nations hall in 1995. After that event, she will remembered as a hero fighting for women and girls. Feminism has been fighting time over time from the past until now in many countries in the world for women can be equal with men. And it does. Someone may ask: What is Feminism? According to Merriam- Webster dictionary, feminism is “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” It is a belief that men and women deserve equality in all opportunities, treatment, respect, and social rights. It points out throughout history men have received more opportunities than women. In the past women is under control of men. In short, the feminism is not only considered as a remarkable shift in the term of gender equality but it also plays an important role to change the lives of women.
In the past, women had suffered and had less power in human rights. Starting in early Roman days, married women had to depend on their husband. Though the past when they start at Hunting and Gathering Societies, men usually go out for hunting and women take care of their children. In another countries, especially in China, husband hood fully took control in his house. If married women whose husband died, they had to raise their son, if not having one, either they live alone forever or they would suicide “to be with their husband”. In terms of going to school, women mostly were being educated at home, thus women did not have a chance to make a decision. Therefore, their father and husband was the one who decides all the problems in family and society. In India, when a husband died for any reason then in his pyre, the wife immolates herself into it, it is called Suttee. Even the wife don’t want to jump, the society and her family still put her to do it. In China, the women need to have food binding. The tiny feet had been wrapped in gauze and placed inside specially shaped “lotus shoes.” This makes women very difficult for walk or even broken bone. Small feet indicated that a woman’s husband did not need his wife’s labor. In Africa, female have circumcision which is the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. This surgery was done without anesthesia. They cut it to reduce female sexual desire, making woman to be a virgin at marriage and remain faithful to her husband. Women have also faced of honor killings which are acts of violence, usually murder, committed by male family members to female family member when she brings a shame upon the family.
In the nineteenth century that men were able to go to work and had a social life, while women stayed at home for taking care of the children and doing household. Throughout the 19th to the 20th century, women as a group have been fought for equality and the right to vote. The history of the modern western feminist movement is divided into three periods. Each period dealt with different aspects of the same feminist issues. They called these periods as a “wave” why? Let’s look at the definition of it. According to dictionary.com, wave as a verb means to move freely and gently back and forth or up and down. That means the movement to get the freedom of the women during the Feminism happen.
First-wave feminism began in the context of industrial society and liberal politics but is connected to both the liberal women’s rights movement and early socialist feminism in the late 19th and early 20th century in the United States and Europe. According to the wiki.dickinson.edu in the article Three Wave of Feminism, the first wave started strongly after Seneca Falls Convention which was held to discuss the ways that women were restricted while men were not, and hopefully make a difference in the law saying that it is illegal for women to vote. From Jim Fritz in the article “Feminism and its Effects on Society” said the first wave of Feminism also focused on the promotion of equal contract, marriage, parenting, and property rights for women. Thus, although women of color continued to contribute and representatives such as Ida B. Wells (1862–1931) and Mary Church Terrell (1868–1954) also struggled to show how the connection of sexism and racism behaved as the main means of White male dominance, the first wave of feminism involved largely of White, middle-class, well-educated women.
The argument is that talking about women has an equal respect for men and if women did not have that opportunity to vote then they had not been had a full citizenship. This concept is often called “equal-opportunities feminism” or “equity feminism.” It is characterized by the lack of distinction between sex and gender. Sex refers to biological differences; genes, hormonal profiles, internal and external sex organs. Gender defines the characteristics that a society or culture describes as masculine or feminine. So while your sex as male or female is a biological fact that is the same in any culture, what that sex means in terms of your gender role as a ‘man’ or a ‘woman’ in society can be quite a different cross-culturally. These ‘gender roles’ have an influence on the health of the individual.
The Second Wave of Feminism began in the early 1960s. Second-wave feminism is largely concerned with issues of equality beyond suffrage, such as ending gender discrimination. The human right on the women needed to be protected. In this wave, it was not focused just on the White Women anymore, they have the right for color-women also. After the two world wars, its showed that women could take men’s place in factories, that they could work outside the house as well as within it, and they could contribute to the economy. When men came back from the war and retook their old jobs from women who were doing them during the war also were given higher salaries which had made women more angry about this inequality. Therefore, the second wave started. Simone de Beauvoir wrote the book name “The Second Sex” which talked about the women’s roles in society and how it raised the idea of what women do and act, where gender roles had learned and forced upon women. The book had raised the question about why should women’s roles that forced them to be behind the men in workplace and home.