Gender Studies Paper on What is Feminism?

What is Feminism?

There have been many concepts and definitions regarding the issue of feminism. There have been three waves of feminism in history. The first wave was based on writers and the events that took place between the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; the second was between the 1960s and 1970s, while the third began in the 1990s. The different definition of feminism today are based on the actions of the people who stood up for the rights of women and the events that led to the need to advocate for equality.

After questioning three people, my uncle defined feminism as the fight for women’s rights. He also stated that feminism entailed the importance of abolishing cultural practices that affected women’s health such as female genital mutilation, limiting women to domestic work, and early marriage practices. My sister defined feminism as a movement focused on empowering women and creating gender equality politically, economically, and socially. A friend of mine defined feminism as the fight for human rights, which encompasses advocating for gender equality in terms of healthcare provision, education, and career opportunities.

These definitions are similar in their perception of feminism as a fight for gender equality and the rights of women. However, their view on the fight for women’s right differ as my uncle viewed it as the need to abolish primitive cultural practices that were based on gender roles while my sister viewed women’s rights in terms of equality, empowering women, and ensuring that every sector, political, economic, and social, offered equal opportunities to men and women. Her definition was based on the gender bias seen in different sectors. My friend’s opinions differed through her inclusion of healthcare rights for women.

Their definitions of feminism are positive as they based on the need to promote gender equality and eliminate practices in the community that affect women. Their definitions are similar to that of Wood’s in terms of advocating for women’s rights and gender equality in the society (Matthews & Wood, 2003). In the United States, there is a need to advocate for gender equality as some careers pay men workers higher than women and top leadership positions in organizations are commonly held by men (Newman, Chama, Mugisha, Matsiko, & Oketcho, 2017). This shows the need for gender equality.

This activity has increased my understanding of the positive aspects of feminism. While I initially viewed feminism as the promotion of female superiority in the society, I now view it as a movement aimed at empowering women and promoting gender equality.




Matthews, J. V., & Wood, M. M. (2003). Wood on Matthews, “The Rise of the New Woman: The Women’s Movement in America, 1875-1930”. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee Publisher.

Newman, C., Chama, P. K., Mugisha, M., Matsiko, C. W., & Oketcho, V. (2017). Reasons Behind Current Gender Imbalances in Senior Global Health Roles and the Practice and Policy Changes that Can Catalyze Organizational Change. Global, Health, Epidemiology and Genomics, e19. Retrieved from Retrieved from