The concept of feminism is not universal and has many forms (e.g., liberal, radical, womanism) and definitions. However, there are three characteristics that are shared by most, if not all, forms of feminism. First is the recognition that women are treated differently than men, and are in the subordinate role in society. Second, feminists view gender and gender roles as socially constructed (and thus capable of change) and as differentially valued within society. Third, feminism holds that women can be autonomous and self-reliant. The main goal of feminism is gender equality.

Brief History

Discussions of women's position relative to men's go back at least as far as the 12th century, although “feminism” did not emerge until the mid-18th century. Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of ...

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