Second Wave Feminism

Second wave feminism, as a term, identifies both a varied set of feminist ideologies (e.g., liberal, radical, socialist) and a social movement promoting women’s social, political, and legal rights. The second wave incorporated a wide array of feminist perspectives and was most active in the late 1960s and in the 1970s in the United States. Although second wave feminist activism continued into the early 1990s, it faced decline and significant backlash beginning in the early 1980s. The second wave can be distinguished from both first wave feminism (the voting rights movement from 1848–1920) and third wave feminism (a more postmodern approach beginning in the mid-1990s). Second wave feminism signaled a rapid increase in legal reforms and grassroots organizing that ultimately transformed societal understandings of women’s ...

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