Feminism is a socio-political and intellectual movement that advocates for gender equality, challenging societal norms like [sexism](https://doctorparadox.net/category/psychology/sexism/) and systems like male supremacy that have historically advantaged men and disadvantaged women. Its goal is to transform societies to achieve gender equality in political, economic, personal, and social rights.
Feminist movements can be traced back centuries, but they are commonly divided into three (or sometimes four) 'waves', each with distinct goals and characteristics:
1. **First-wave feminism (late 19th to early 20th centuries)**: The primary focus was on legal rights, particularly women's [[suffrage]] (the right to vote). Major figures in this wave included [[Susan B. Anthony]], [[Elizabeth Cady Stanton]], and [[Emmeline Pankhurst]]. This wave culminated in many western countries with the gaining of voting rights for women.
2. **Second-wave feminism (1960s–1980s)**: This wave was more broadly focused on issues of equality and [[discrimination]]. It brought attention to matters like reproductive rights, domestic violence, marital rape, and workplace inequality. Second-wave feminists emphasized the notion that "the personal is political," bringing attention to issues previously seen as private or domestic. Notable figures include [[Betty Friedan]], [[Gloria Steinem]], and [[Angela Davis]].
3. **Third-wave feminism (1990s–2000s)**: This wave emerged as a response to perceived failures and blind spots of the second wave, focusing on the concept of intersectionality, [[Critical Race Theory (CRT)]], and the diversity of women's experiences across race, class, sexual orientation, and nationality. It sought to challenge or avoid what it deemed the "essentialist" definitions of femininity, asserting that women's beauty and femininity can be defined in many ways. Prominent third-wave feminists include [[bell hooks]], Judith Butler, and Kimberlé Crenshaw.
4. **Fourth-wave feminism (2010s-present)**: While not universally accepted, some people refer to a 'fourth wave' of feminism that emerged with the rise of digital media. This wave has been associated with online-oriented movements like #MeToo, and often centers on sexual harassment, body shaming, and rape culture. It continues to focus on intersectionality and makes extensive use of [[social media]] for organizing, discussing, and publicizing feminist issues.
Feminism encompasses a wide range of theories, movements, and ideologies that can differ significantly. These can include liberal feminism, radical feminism, Marxist feminism, socialist feminism, intersectional feminism, transfeminism, and ecofeminism, among others. Despite these differences, all forms of feminism are linked by the common goal of achieving gender equality.