Historical Background Of Feminism

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1.3.1 Historical background The term ‘Feminism’ was first coined in 1872 by the French dramatist Alexander Dumas. Since then, feminism has been used interpreted in numerous shades and shapes of its meaning. The essence of feminism has, however, always been more or less the same. It stands for a belief that women should have the same right, power and opportunity that men have. In this way, feminism serves as an aid to women empowerment. Feminism is an ideology which seeks not only to understand the world but also to change it to the advantage of women. Feminism as an issue gained momentum only when it emerged as a socio-political movement critiquing the subaltern status of women. Today, feminism has grown right from social reform theory. One is always curious to go to the grass roots of this movement and examine whether there is any progressive development in its conviction from then till now, as feminism is a much debated issue of the twentieth century. Various critics have attempted an analysis of the feminist movement in their own way. The slogan ‘the personal is political’ by Carol Hanisch narrowed down the wide charm that existed between the personal experiences of woman and that of public affairs. Though the discussion of unequal status of women dates from before Aphra Ben, feminism became an organized movement only with suffrage movement both in America and Britain in the 1840s. After winning votes for women it narrowed down to family affairs where they claimed family
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