Feminism in the United States is a spectrum of political movements, social movements, and ideologies that has a common target of defining, establishing, and achieving economic, political, personal, and social equality between men and women. Feminism seeks to create equal opportunities for both sexes in terms of education and employment.
Feminist movements have struggled to pursue their crusade for women’s rights, and the movement also campaigns for women to access the legal abortion system, social integration, and they fight to protect the women and young girls from sexual harassment and violence at home. Over the decades, the feminist movements have reached their goals, and their perseverance and success were chronologically divided into four categories of feminisms in US.
The first wave of feminism started on July 19 and 20, 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York, where the Seneca Falls Convention was held at the Wesleyan Chapel. This first convention for women rights was inspired by the event in 1840, here two strong women met at the World Anti-Slavery Convention held in London. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, wife of an anti-slavery agent, and Lucretia Mott, veteran of reform and a Quaker preacher discussed about having a convention talking about the condition of women.
The first wave earned women the right to vote in some western states, gained child and property custody. It was in 1869 in Wyoming when women first were granted suffrage. In 1920, white women were given the right to vote, and in 1916 a birth control activist Margaret Higgins Sanger established Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
This wave started by a book called The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan in 1963, which focuses on the objection of having women painted as housewives only. And on the same year, Gloria Steinem, a freelance journalist wrote a diary which she published about the male chauvinism at the Playboy Club. Steinem turned into the most influential movement figure, and supported legalized abortion and the free daycares.
The second wave gained women victories for equal pay, banned sex discrimination, legalized birth controls for married and unmarried women, family planning, and legalized abortion, illegalizing sex discrimination when it comes to housing and marital rape became a crime.
The third wave of feminism in the United States started in 1991 when Anita Hill accused United States Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of rape, but lost as the votes of the United States Senate favored Thomas. An article titled “Becoming the third wave” was published by feminist Rebecca Walker in Ms. Magazine regarding the rape. This wave uses the internet to express freely the movement’s voices.
The fourth wave started in 2012 and is focused on using social media as a means to get justice for women, to oppose sexual harassment and object against the violence to women. This last wave is “defined by technology”, and feminists uses social media to campaign further about gender equality.