It was less that 100 years ago that women in the United States were granted the right to suffrage. America, a nation that was founded on the premise of representation for all its citizens, took nearly 150 years to grant half of it’s population the ability to be represented by their government. The road to suffrage was in no way an easy journey. Women across the world used any means necessary, often resorting to violence in order for their voice to be heard. In America, the first wave of feminism from 1860-1920 was just the beginning of a battle that is still being fought today (Hannam 2007, 49). Since the passage of the 19th Amendment, there have been 2 officially recognized waves of feminism that have followed the suffrage movement, each characterized with different goals and means of achieving there intended ends. The second wave of feminism, sparked by Betty Friedan’s, The Feminist Mystique, in the early 1960 and lasting into the 70s focused on the need for men and women to be seen as equal under the law. In order to do so, women used historically radical and unfeminine means to portray their nature as similar to men’s (Gamble 2000, 30). However within two decades, this movement had already concluded, and by the 1990’s, the third wave had begun. The third wave is characterized by a deviation from the rigid principles of second wave feminism and a more fluid definition of the feminist identity (Snyder 2008, 176). With each wave, there is a revolution in the ideology of the movement. It is likely that the fourth wave will focus on specific legislative changes that center around the equality of parental dynamics and the rights of men and women in the work place.
Third wave feminism is vastly different ...
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...cant peaks and pitfalls in the United States since the emergence of the first wave of feminism. From gaining the right to vote, to being denied legal equality in the second, and reclaiming femininity in the third wave, feminism has yet to see an era that provides concrete and irrefutable reasons that men and women should be treated as equals under the law. In order for the possibility of a fourth wave of feminism to become a reality, American feminists need to build up a movement that demands representation in the workplace and legal standards that make parents equally responsible for the care of children under the law. By breaking down historically oppressive gender standards for a mothers’ role to care for a child, and by providing both parents paid leave and daycare systems that are a public good, there is a possibility that men and women can be seen as equals.
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