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The feminist movement accomplished many of the goals that it set out in order for women to get more of the rights and freedom that they deserved. The feminist movement set in motion a series of ‘waves’ that led to such accomplishments. There were four of these ‘waves’ that helped gain equal rights to an education, to vote, and to work; it even helped reform certain issues that women and sometimes men face such as domestic violence and sexual harassment.
The first wave of the feminist movement was the first thing that brought about changes for women; its main focus was on legal issues.
This wave occurred during the 19th and early 20th century. The first wave was mainly set in motion by western white women who wanted the right to vote in elections. During the first wave, women’s suffrage began so that they could get the right to vote; they were arrested and even went on hunger strikes to be able to get their right to vote.
Women got the right to vote because of this movement which implemented the 19th amendment; it was ratified in 1920. This helped them move closer to equality. The right to vote didn’t extend to women of color, and men of color, until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The first wave of feminism achieved their key goal and even helped women administer their property. The rights earned by the first wave helped to move onto the second wave of feminism.
The second wave of the feminist movement began in the 1960s and progressed into the 1980s.
In Four Waves of Feminism by Martha Rampton, she talks about the second wave stating, “In this phase, sexuality and reproductive rights were dominant issues, and much of the movement’s energy was focused on passing the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing social equality regardless of sex” (Martha Rampton, par. 5). The second wave focused on the economic and social differences between women and men. During this time more women became involved in the movement. The second wave of feminism had many accomplishments: The Women’s Educational Equity Act of 1972 and 1974 provided greater educational equality. Title X of 1970 addressed health and family planning, and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 and Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.
In a blog post by Ohio Humanities, Sally Ann Drucker states, “The third-wave sees women’s lives as intersectional, demonstrating how race, ethnicity, class, religion, gender, and nationality are all significant factors when discussing feminism. It examines issues related to women’s lives on an international basis” (Sally Ann Drucker, par. 5).
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