First-wave feminism

First-wave feminism

First-wave feminism refers to a period of feminist activity during the nineteenth and early twentieth century in the United Kingdom and the United States. It focused on "de jure" (officially mandated) inequalities, primarily on gaining women's suffrage (the right to vote). The term "first wave" was coined retroactively in the 1970s. The women's movement then, focusing as much on fighting "de facto" (unofficial) inequalities as "de jure" ones, acknowledged its foremothers by calling itself "second-wave feminism".

United Kingdom

Mary Wollstonecraft published the first feminist treatise, "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" (1792), in which she advocated the social and moral equality of the sexes, extending the work of her 1790 pamphlet, "A Vindication of the Rights of Man". Her later unfinished work "Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman" earned her considerable criticism as she dared to acknowledge the existence of women's sexual desires, which was taboo in Georgian England.

Wollstonecraft is regarded as the grandmother of British feminism and her ideas shaped the thinking of the suffragettes, who campaigned for the women's vote. After generations of work, this was eventually granted − to some women in 1918, and equally with men in 1928.

United States

"Woman in the Nineteenth Century" by Margaret Fuller has been considered the first major feminist work in the United States and is often compared to Wollstonecraft's "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman". [Slater, Abby. "In Search of Margaret Fuller". New York: Delacorte Press, 1978: 89–90. ISBN 0-440-03944-4] Prominent leaders of the feminist movement in the United States include Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, who campaigned for the abolition of slavery prior to championing women's right to vote. Anthony and other activists (such as Victoria Woodhull and Matilda Joslyn Gage) made attempts to cast votes prior to their legal entitlement to do so, for which many of them faced charges. Other important leaders include Lucy Stone, Olympia Brown, and Helen Pitts.

First-wave feminism involved a wide range of women, some belonging to conservative Christian groups (such as Frances Willard and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union), others resembling the diversity and radicalism of much of second-wave feminism (such as Matilda Joslyn Gage and the National Woman Suffrage Association).

The end of this wave is often linked with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (1920), granting women the right to vote. This was a major victory of the movement, which also included reforms in higher education, in the workplace and professions, and in healthcare.

See also

* Second-wave feminism
* Third-wave feminism
* "The Subjection of Women" by John Stuart Mill
* Timeline of Womens Rights (other than voting)
* Oberlin College, the first American college to regularly admit women.
* Seneca Falls Convention
* George Gissing, The Odd Women; novel
* Lily Braun

Notes

Sources

* [http://www.historyguide.org/intellect/wollstonecraft.html Biography of Mary Wollstonecraft with links to works] .
* " [http://www.victoria-woodhull.com/ Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly] "
* [http://www.class.csupomona.edu/his/skpuz/hst202/Woodhull/WQart.html Woodhull's attempt to run for President] .


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • First wave — can refer to:*First Wave (TV series), a TV Show that aired from 1998 to 2001 on the Sci Fi Channel. * First Wave , an episode of the TV Show Total Recall 2070 *First wave feminism, a period of feminist history during the late 19th and early 20th… …   Wikipedia

  • Third-wave feminism — is a term identified with several diverse strains of feminist activity and study beginning in the early 1990s. The movement arose as a response to perceived failures and backlash against initiatives and movements created by second wave feminism… …   Wikipedia

  • Second-wave feminism — refers to a period of feminist activity which began during the 1960s and lasted through the late 1970s. Where first wave feminism focused on overturning legal ( de jure ) obstacles to equality, second wave feminism addressed unofficial ( de facto …   Wikipedia

  • Feminism — Feminists redirects here. For other uses, see Feminists (disambiguation). See also: feminist movement and feminism in the United States …   Wikipedia

  • feminism — feminist, n., adj. feministic, adj. /fem euh niz euhm/, n. 1. the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men. 2. (sometimes cap.) an organized movement for the attainment of such rights for women. 3 …   Universalium

  • Feminism Reimagined: The Third Wave — ▪ 2008 Introduction Laura Brunell  The third wave of feminism emerged in the mid 1990s. Generation Xers, born in the 1960s and ‘70s in the developed world, came of age in a media saturated, diverse world; they possessed significant legal rights… …   Universalium

  • feminism —    A doctrine or movement that promotes the social role of women and advocates equal rights. Feminist aspirations can be dated back to the publication of Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792), but feminist ideas only… …   Glossary of UK Government and Politics

  • feminism — feminism, feminist A social movement , having its origins in eighteenth century England, which seeks to achieve equality between the sexes by extension of rights for women. In the 1890s the term referred specifically to the women and men who… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Feminism in Poland — The history of feminism in Poland [The term Poland in the 19th century refers to the Polish territories within boundaries from 1771 (from 1795 until 1918 the Polish state did not exist, being partitioned by its neighbours: Russia, Austria, and… …   Wikipedia

  • feminism —    Early Spanish feminism was weak and conservative, although socialist and anarchist feminism was important between 1920 and 1930. The greatest reforms concerning women s emancipation were introduced in the 1931 constitution, which stipulated… …   Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”