The feminist movement, which appeared during the American Revolutionary War, has undergone significant changes throughout history. Throughout feminists’ history, the crucial goal of this movement was always to achieve equality. At the end of the eighteenth century, the movement found its supporters in Europe (Evans & Lepinard, 2019). In France, for the first time, women’s magazines dedicated to the struggle for equality began to be published.
During the French Revolution, women’s clubs were created, whose members actively participated in the struggle for equality (Evans & Lepinard, 2019). However, significant political changes took place in Britain only at the end of the nineteenth century (Evans & Lepinard, 2019). The emergence of the suffragist movement defended women’s right to vote through organized protests (Woman’s World, 2018). The feminist movement has significantly impacted society and the perception of rights and liberties of different genders. Feminism has played a prominent role in the history of forming the international community, language, moral values, personal relationships, and even the religion of modern society.
Historical Importance of Feminist Movement
The knowledge about the history and development of the feminist movement can contribute to a better understanding and its impact on society. In general, over the past two centuries, modern humanity has experienced the three waves of feminism. The first wave of feminism included suffragettes who fought to vote on an equal footing with men and receive decent wages. The second wave of feminism arose after the Second World War when European women protested against the moral inequality in society (Evans & Lepinard, 2019). The third wave of feminism started immediately after the second, at the beginning of the nineties (Evans & Lepinard, 2019). The central postulate of these movements was the sexual freedom of women and the right to sexual self-determination. Feminism
International Community, Business and Language
Feminist Movement Evolving Changes in Business
The development of feminism contributed to many changes in society. Women were given a wide range of jobs with salaries comparable to men, the right to file for divorce, have control over their bodies, and the right to decide what medical intervention was acceptable. Thanks to this movement and some radical decisions, the corporative culture of gender-neutral business leading was established. Scientists believe that the feminist movements reorganized the business opportunities for women, enhancing the advancement of new ideas and thoughts (Vachhani, 2020). Feminist ethics offers ” ways of disturbing organizations, pushing beyond constructed categories such as gender, race, and class” (Vachhani, 2020, p. 745). Thanks to such changes, the international community and businesses have implemented new anti-discrimination values.
Impact on Language
Language directly affects the world’s perception and understanding of people’s place in it. In the Western languages (mainly in English), feminists often advocated for the use of gender-neutral language, for example, using the address Miss towards women, whether or not they are married. Feminists also advocate for the choice of words that do not exclude one of the sexes when it comes to a common concept to both men and women. English provides more global examples: the words humanity and mankind are used to refer to all mankind, but the second word goes back to the word man ‘man.’ Therefore, the use of the word humanity is preferable, as it goes back to the gender-neutral term.
It is grammatically correct to use the male gender of the unknown person referred to in the sentence in many other languages. The feminist movement has changed the perception of language and questioned the gender correctness of many languages (Pullen & Vachhani, 2020). In most cases, such an attitude to language means respectful relation to both sexes and has a certain political and semantic coloring of the information transmitted in this way. These changes in language requirements are also explained by the desire to correct the elements of sexism in language.
Feminists believe that gender roles are a social construct. The movement promoted the idea that motherhood is not necessarily the vocation of a woman. Today’s society provides a more equality-oriented perspective on the woman’s status as an identity striving for development. Through this movement, women gained the opportunity to take leadership positions and move up the career ladder. Another essential change is the opportunity for women to receive higher education (Woman’s World, 2018). Another critical issue in the patriarchal world was marriage and the role of women within it.
The role of the marriage was exaggerated, thereby creating the prejudices that this is the main value in women’s lives. Many of them could not get a job because of marriage or enter into marriage in connection with their work. Discussing marriage, domestic violence problems should be mentioned. This topic was not previously discussed from the legal and moral perspectives. The issue of domestic violence is still open because for women, who endure marital abuse, it is more difficult to get justice by hearing excuses that they have chosen this path. The rising discussion of these problems and the legal regulation of domestic violence results from feminist movements. Through their activities, feminists have changed the moral values of society.
Personal Relationships and Religion
There has been a reversal of the poles of power in some respects. In such cases, both men and women have to adapt to relatively new situations, which sometimes causes confusion and confusion in getting used to non-traditional roles for each gender. Women are now freer to choose the opportunities that open up for them. Still, some feel considerable discomfort from having to play the role of wife and mother, maintaining a balance between career and caring for the home. In response to the fact that it is more difficult for a woman to be a “good mother” in the new society, many supporters of socialist feminism note the lack of a sufficient number of pre-school education institutions (Woman’s World, 2018). At the same time, instead of shifting the responsibility for raising and caring for children exclusively to mothers, many fathers have become more actively involved in this process, recognizing that this is their responsibility.
Role in Religion
Feminism has also influenced many aspects of different religions. In liberal offshoots of Protestant Christianity, women may be members of the clergy. In reformism, women can become “priests” and choristers. Within these groups of Christian reformism, women gradually became more or less equal to men through access to higher positions (Giorgi, 2020). Such perspective is now one of exploration and reinterpretation of the respective beliefs. These tendencies, however, are not supported in Islam and Catholicism. The growing denominations of Islam forbid Muslim women to be part of the clergy in any capacity, including theology.
Liberal movements within Islam still do not leave attempts to carry out some reforms of a feminist nature in Muslim society (Giorgi, 2020). The researchers state that in Christianity, “catholic women perceived and represented as bearer of the majority and hegemonic culture against which the movement stands” (Giorgi, 2020, p. 12). The Catholic Church traditionally does not admit women to the ranks of the clergy of any rank, with the exception of becoming a monk. Thus, even though women’s status-related restrictions are preserved in some religions, the feminist movement has affected a woman’s religious perception.
The feminist movement has significantly affected society’s worldview regarding women’s status. Historically, the movement contributed to creating equal educational and work opportunities for women. Some problems, such as domestic violence and marriage responsibilities, are unsolved even today. However, the feminist movements highlighted these problems empowering the discussion and actions. In general, society’s moral values became more equality-evolving, which is the positive impact of the feminist movement.
Evans, E., & Lepinard, E. (2019). Intersectionality in feminist and queer movements: Confronting privileges (1st ed.). Taylor & Francis.
Giorgi, A. (2020). Religious feminists and the intersectional feminist movements: Insights from a case study. European Journal of Women’s Studies, 28(2), 244–259. Web.
Pullen, A., & Vachhani, S.J. (2020). Feminist ethics and women leaders: From difference to intercorporeality. Journal of Business Ethics 173, 233–243. Web.
Vachhani. (2019). Envisioning a democratic culture of difference: Feminist ethics and the politics of dissent in social movements. Journal of Business Ethics, 164(4), 745–757. Web.
Woman’s World: How did history’s radical feminists envision the future? (2018). TVF International. Web.