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Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women.
Feminist theory, which emerged from feminist movements, aims to understand the nature of gender inequality by examining women's social roles and lived experience; it has developed theories in a variety of disciplines in order to respond to issues such as the social construction of sex and gender. Some of the earlier forms of feminism have been criticized for taking into account only white, middle-class, educated perspectives. This led to the creation of ethnically specific or multiculturalist forms of feminism.
Feminist activists campaign for women's rights – such as in contract law, property, and voting – while also promoting bodily integrity, autonomy, and reproductive rights for women. Feminist campaigns have changed societies, particularly in the West, by achieving women's suffrage, gender neutrality in English, equal pay for women, reproductive rights for women (including access to contraceptives and abortion), and the right to enter into contracts and own property. Feminists have worked to protect women and girls from domestic violence, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. They have also advocated for workplace rights, including maternity leave, and against forms of discrimination against women. Feminism is mainly focused on women's issues, but author bell hooks and others have argued that, since feminism seeks gender equality, it must necessarily include men's liberation because men are also harmed by sexism and gender roles.
- "Feminism – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 12 June 2011.
- "Definition of feminism noun from Cambridge Dictionary Online: Free English Dictionary and Thesaurus". dictionary.cambridge.org. Retrieved 12 June 2011.
- Oxford English Dictionary (online ed.). Oxford University Press. June 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012. (Definition is of noun. Subscription may be required.)
- Chodorow, Nancy (1989). Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-05116-2.
- Gilligan, Carol (1977). "'In a Different Voice: Women's Conceptions of Self and Morality'". Harvard Educational Review 47 (4): 481–517. Retrieved 8 June 2008.
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- Butler, Judith (March 1992). "Feminism in Any Other Name". Differences 6 (2–3): 30.
- Messer-Davidow, Ellen (2002). Disciplining Feminism: From Social Activism to Academic Discourse. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press. ISBN 0-8223-2843-7.
- Echols, Alice (1989). Daring to Be Bad: Radical Feminism in America, 1967–1975. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. p. 416. ISBN 0-8166-1787-2.
- Cornell, Drucilla (1998). At the Heart of Freedom: Feminism, Sex, and Equality. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-02896-5.
- Campaign: Stop Violence against Women.
- Price, Janet; Shildrick, Margrit (1999). Feminist Theory and the Body: A Reader. New York: Routledge. p. 487. ISBN 0-415-92566-5.
hookswas invoked but never defined (see the help page).
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