Lesson 14 - The first hints of feminist activism date back...

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The first hints of feminist activism date back to as early as the 18 th century when journals written solely for women began to appear and became popularized. Many scholars believe that the actual starting point of the feminist movement and the rise of feminist thought and activism originated with the 1792 publication of Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman . At the time of its publication Wollstonecraft’s work was quite groundbreaking – it suggested that women’s education should not be limited only to the domestic sphere. Her work sparked the need for change to improve women’s lives. So what IS activism? Activism is defined as “the doctrine or practice of vigorous action or involvement as a means of achieving political or other goals, sometimes by demonstrations, protests, etc.” and “a theory that the essence of reality is pure activity, esp. spiritual activity, or process.” Without activism the feminist movement would not have advanced past Mary Wollstonecraft’s argument about education in Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Feminism could not exist without social change because gaining rights for women is a gradual process that succeeds only when we build upon what women before us have already gained. Today feminist activism is responsible for much change in society including women’s suffrage, greater work and pay equality , the right to initiate divorce, the right to sexual and reproductive freedoms including control over one’s own body and abortion rights, the availability of birth control, and many other social changes. Even though
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Lesson 14 - The first hints of feminist activism date back...

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