Women’s rights essay
The issue regarding women’s rights is not a new one. In the past, there were distinctive differences between men and women, between their roles in society and their models of behavior. However, considerable changes have been found since those times. Today gender roles have been shifted, making strong impact on society. Women in the Western culture are now no more satisfied with the role of a homemaker; they prefer to make their own careers and share the same rights with men (Howie, 2010). This fact means women’s rights are based on freedom that can be viewed as a virtue, but not as a burden. Women continue to fight for their rights. The emergence of feminist movements and ideologies united under the title of feminism (Gillis & Hollows, 2008). Today, there is a continuous discourse on the behalf of both opponents and proponents of feminism, but the main thing is to understand the very roots and reasons of the phenomenon (Gillis et al., 2007). Therefore, the major goal of this study is to find out the objective state of the problem and conclude whether women do win by acquiring the equal status with men in human society. For that end, the existing literature covering different perspectives will be analyzed. In particular, the study will be focused on proto-feminist movements in Europe of the 19-the century; passing the Representation of the People Act in 1918; demonstrations on women’s suffrage; women’s efforts during the First World War and the Second World War; the first wave, the second wave and the third wave feminism on the whole. The research is expected to prove that although social reconstruction of sex and gender is not always beneficial neither for women nor for men, the struggle for equal opportunities has become a historically determined stage of social development. These events reflect the changes in feminist movements and help to better understand the successes and failures of women in fighting for their rights. The impact of each event or development that will be discussed in this paper is connected with the changing role of women and with their changing opportunities in achievement of the established goals. Thesis statement: Women’s role in the struggle for equal opportunities highlights the positive effects of feminism on the social reconstruction of sex and gender that was caused by a number of important historical events and developments, such as the development of proto-feminist movements in Europe of the 19-the century; passing the Representation of the People Act in 1918; demonstrations on women’s suffrage; women’s efforts during the First World War and the Second World War; the development of the first wave, the second wave and the third wave feminism.
The major goal of this paper is to review the historical events and developments which involve women from 1865 to the present. This paper will explore six specific events or developments that span the years covered by this course, based on their impact on the topic “women’s role in history”. The research is focused on the analysis of both European Women’s rights and the women’s rights movements launched in the U.S, defined as the first wave, the second wave and the third wave feminism.
Proto-feminist movements in Europe of the 19-the century
The development of proto-feminist movements in Europe of the 19-the century played an important role in the promotion of the philosophy of feminism. Women were inspired by proto-feminist concerns that women should be equal to men. Proto-feminist movements contributed to women’s achievements in different spheres of human activity. Actually, in the 19-th century, women’s condition under the law differed from that of men. In economics and politics, women had no power. However, women’s consciousness was more progressive compared with that of women who lived earlier than the 19-tyh century (Worell, 2000). In other words, the development of proto-feminist movements is connected with the development of feminist consciousness focused on the expansion of women’s rights and development of women’s rights movements. The Female Moral Reform Society is an example of effective proto-feminist movement aimed at representation women in a powerful position, placing emphasis on the public advocacy of personal ethics (Gillis & Hollows, 2008; Worell, 2000).
Passing the Representation of the People Act in 1918
The Representation of the People Act (1918) criticized the limited rights of women and continued to call for equal rights. This act provided an opportunity to establish fair relationships between men and women, promoting the idea of equal pay for equal work. New reforms of the 1900s contributed to the growth of feminism. According to the Representation of the People Act of 1918, all women included in the local governmental register, aged 30 and over, were enfranchised (Gillis & Hollows, 2008; Worell, 2000). The right to vote was granted to women who were householders, the householders’ wives, and who occupied the property with an annual rent of L5 and more, and who were the graduates of British universities (Gillis & Hollows, 2008).
Moreover, the debate regarding the passage of the Representation of the People Act raised the issues about the effects of the law, but it failed to change the established culture of parliamentary politics. Many women politicians did not criticize male-dominated political parties, remaining loyal to men’s power (Early video on the emancipation of women, 1930). In the 1900s, men remained in the positions of power, although the political movement regarding women’s suffrage in the U.K. began before the WWI (Worell, 2000).
Demonstrations on women’s suffrage
Many demonstrations were organized to address women’s suffrage rights. The first demonstration was the parade organized by Blatch in New York in 1910. Harriot Stanton Blatch was one of activists who promoted the idea of bringing a new suffrage bill, which could become the first step to women’s voting rights. In 1907, she established the Equality League of Self-Supporting Women. In 1913, the suffrage match was held in Washington D.C. More than 5000 women activist took part in this match, hoping to win public support for suffrage. In 1916, the Women’s Political Union organized many demonstrations on women’s suffrage. In the U.S., President Wilson agreed to support the idea of women’s suffrage in 1918 after numerous protests organized by feminists. As a result, women’s rights activists were aimed at equality in all spheres of human activity based on women’s suffrage. In 1919, the Nineteenth Amendment was passed by the U.S. Congress (Howie, 2010; Worell, 2000).
Women’s efforts during the First World War
Women’s role during the First World War reflected their social and economic position. Feminists were not satisfied with the idea that women’s work was classified as less important than men’s work. Besides, the working class women who were the representatives of the first wave feminism promoted the ideas of feminism at work and in homes, in stores, halls and local newspapers. They believed in their rights and were focused on the promotion of collective actions aimed at realization of their agenda. However, men opposed women’s involvement into male jobs during the First World War. Male trade unions defended the division of labor based on gender (Gillis & Hollows, 2008).
Finally, women’s activism in the era of the First World War, the considerable increases in the cost of living in that period, as well as the recognition of the established trade unions and the passage of the constitutional amendment to support women’s suffrage contributed to women’s mobilization during the war. According to Howie (2010), patriotic women highlighted the importance of the ideas of feminism. Due to the diversity of experiences during that period, women could become more independent in their choices. Although many women realized that their rights were limited, they supported feminism and motivated others to join wartime mobilization (Howie, 2010).
Women’s efforts during the Second World War
Women’s efforts during the Second World War were focused on more radical changes. Unlike in the First World War, during the Second World War women’s position was more stable. The governments allowed women to join the armed forces and be involved in the war-related production. All women aged under 40 years old were divided into two categories: mobile and immobile. Mobile women were allowed to join army and carry out war work duties. Immobile women were responsible for caring children and elderly people. Many of them were involved in voluntary work, either in industry or in voluntary organizations (Howie, 2010). Women were allowed to work 16 hours a day and perform men’s duties. However, women were paid less than men. Besides, they were discriminated in the workplace. Thus, women played an important role in the war effort, although their position in society was still less valuable, comparing with men’s position (Howie, 2010; Gillis & Hollows, 2008).
The first wave, the second wave and the third wave feminism
As the American women’s movement is characterizes as “waves”, there is a necessity to refer to three waves of feminism and identify certain differences between them. Actually, the development of the first wave, the second wave and the third wave feminism highlight the importance of women’s involvement in social reconstruction of sex and gender (Howie, 2010). Although these waves are closely connected with one another, there are some differences in their philosophies. It has been found that each wave of feminism is based on the successes and failures of previous generations of women. For example, the first wave feminism is reflected by the following successes: suffrage and voting rights. These developments occurred in the late 1800s- the early 1900s, influencing further changes in women’s representation (MacKinnon, 1995).
In addition, the second wave feminism, which was launched in the 1960s, placed emphasis on the role of personal politics in human society. The banner of the second wave feminism was “the personal is political”. Actually, it was based on women’s rights, such as abortion rights, child care rights, as well as other issues, including women’s recognition of unpaid labor, access to health care services and equal pay for equal work. Catharine MacKinnon, the Professor of Law at the University of Michigan and the author of the book Toward a Feminist Theory of the State, argues that women’s rights are still limited and there is a necessity for broader horizons for women. A variety of issues of concern remain unsolved. Women continue to fight for their rights (MacKinnon, 1995). According to Hollows, and Moseley (2006), there is a close relationship between the second wave feminism and popular culture, but feminism cannot be viewed as a “monolithic and homogeneous movement” (p. 3).
Moreover, the first wave and the second wave feminism created certain challenges, such as the concerns about racism and discrimination, tensions between generations, etc. These concerns can be found in the next wave of feminism – the third wave feminism, which was launched in the 1990s (MacKinnon, 1995). The third wave feminism is based on criticism of collective past of women’s movement and building more diverse and dynamic movement. In other word it is characterized by the increased role of multiculturalism (MacKinnon, 1995). Alice Walker (1983) helps to assess the role of virtues, beliefs and values in the creation of a womanist virtue ethic, which forms the basis of third wave feminism. She states that social activism helps in promotion of feminist ideas and addresses the challenges caused by diverse society.
Thus, it is necessary to conclude that women have always played an important role in the development of history. This paper is based on providing evidence regarding the effects of social reconstruction of sex and gender on women and their participation in the struggle for equal opportunities, which has become a historically determined stage of social development. The history that involves women has been developed over centuries, constantly changing its goals and forms, increasing the popularity of women’s movement, mainly in the 20-th century, when suffrage and voting rights were popularized. The role of women in the 19-th century differed from their roles in the 20-th century. The events that occurred in the 1900s contributed to the developments in the later decades. For example, proto-feminist movements in Europe of the 19-the century contributed to the development of more independent views on women’s rights and duties. The third wave feminism completely changes women’s views on their role in social development through the relationship between feminist movement and popular culture. Generally speaking, women’s role in the struggle for equal opportunities throughput the history emphasizes the positive effects of feminist ideas on the social reconstruction of sex and gender that was caused by a number of important historical developments, including the development of proto-feminist movements in Europe of the 19-the century; passing the Representation of the People Act in 1918; demonstrations on women’s suffrage; women’s efforts during the First World War and the Second World War; the development of the first wave, the second wave and the third wave feminism.
Third-wave feminism is an iteration of the Feminist Movement that began in the early 1990s United States and continued until the fourth wave began around 2012. Born in the 1960s and 1970s as members of Generation X, and grounded in the civil-rights advances of the second wave, third-wave feminists embraced individualism and diversity and sought to redefine what it meant to be a feminist. According to feminist scholar Elizabeth Evans, "[t]he confusion surrounding what constitutes third-wave feminism is in some respects its defining feature."
The third wave is traced to the emergence of the Riot grrrl feminist punk subculture in Olympia, Washington, in the early 1990s,[a] and to Anita Hill's televised testimony in 1991—to an all-male, all-white Senate Judiciary Committee—that Clarence Thomas, nominated for the Supreme Court of the United States, had sexually harassed her. The term third wave is credited to Rebecca Walker, who responded to Thomas's appointment to the Supreme Court with an article in Ms. magazine, "Becoming the Third Wave" (1992). She wrote:
So I write this as a plea to all women, especially women of my generation: Let Thomas’ confirmation serve to remind you, as it did me, that the fight is far from over. Let this dismissal of a woman's experience move you to anger. Turn that outrage into political power. Do not vote for them unless they work for us. Do not have sex with them, do not break bread with them, do not nurture them if they don't prioritize our freedom to control our bodies and our lives. I am not a post-feminism feminist. I am the Third Wave.
Walker sought to establish that third-wave feminism was not just a reaction, but a movement in itself, because the feminist cause had more work ahead. The term intersectionality—to describe the idea that women experience "layers of oppression" caused, for example, by gender, race and class—had been introduced by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw in 1989, and it was during the third wave that the concept flourished. As feminists came online in the late 1990s and early 2000s and reached a global audience with blogs and e-zines, they broadened their goals, focusing on abolishing gender-role stereotypes and expanding feminism to include women with diverse racial and cultural identities.
The third wave saw the emergence of new feminist currents and theories, such as intersectionality, womanism (within black feminism), sex positivity, vegetarian ecofeminism, transfeminism, and postmodern feminism.
Further information: First-wave feminism, Second-wave feminism, and Feminist sex wars
The rights and programs gained by feminists of the second wave served as a foundation for the third wave. The gains included Title IX (equal access to education); public discussion about the abuse and rape of women; access to contraception and other reproductive services (including the legalization of abortion); the creation and enforcement of sexual-harassment policies for women in the workplace; the creation of domestic-abuse shelters for women and children; child-care services; educational funding for young women; and women's studies programs.
Feminist leaders rooted in the second wave such as Gloria Anzaldúa, bell hooks, Cherríe Moraga, Audre Lorde, Maxine Hong Kingston, and other feminists of color, sought to negotiate a space within feminist thought for consideration of race.Cherríe Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldúa had published the anthology This Bridge Called My Back (1981), which, along with All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave (1982), edited by Akasha (Gloria T.) Hull, Patricia Bell-Scott, and Barbara Smith, argued that second-wave feminism had focused primarily on the problems of white women. The emphasis on the intersection between race and gender became increasingly prominent.
In the interlude of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the feminist sex wars arose as a reaction against the radical feminism of the second wave and its views on sexuality, therein countering with a concept of "sex-positivity" and heralding the third wave.
Main article: Riot grrrl
The emergence of riot grrrl, the feminist punk subculture, in the early 1990s in Olympia, Washington, marked the beginning of third-wave feminism. The triple "r" in grrrl was intended to reclaim the word girl for woman.Alison Piepmeier writes that riot grrrl and Sarah Dyer's Action Girl Newsletter formulated "a style, rhetoric, and iconography for grrrl zines" that came to define third-wave feminism, and that focused on the viewpoint of adolescent girls. Based on hard-core punk rock, the movement created zines and art, talked about rape, patriarchy, sexuality, and female empowerment, started chapters, and supported and organized women in music. An undated Bikini Kill tour flier asked "What is Riot grrrl?":
BECAUSE in every form of media I see us/myself slapped, decapitated, laughed at, objectified, raped, trivialized, pushed, ignored, stereotyped, kicked, scorned, molested, silenced, invalidated, knifed, shot, choked, and killed. ... BECAUSE a safe space needs to be created for girls where we can open our eyes and reach out to each other without being threatened by this sexist society and our day to day bullshit. ... BECAUSE we girls want to create mediums that speak to US. We are tired of boy band after boy band, boy zine after boy zine, boy punk after boy punk after boy. BECAUSE I am tired of these things happening to me; I'm not a fuck toy. I'm not a punching bag. I'm not a joke.
Riot grrrl was grounded in the DIY philosophy of punk values, adopting an anti-corporate stance of self-sufficiency and self-reliance. Its emphasis on universal female identity and separatism often appeared more closely allied with second-wave feminism. Bands associated with the movement included Bratmobile, Excuse 17, Jack Off Jill, Free Kitten, Heavens to Betsy, Huggy Bear, L7, Fifth Column, and Team Dresch.
Main article: Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination
In 1991 Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas, an African-American judge who had been nominated to the United States Supreme Court, of sexual harassment. Thomas denied the accusations, calling them a "high-tech lynching". After extensive debate, the United States Senate voted 52–48 in favor of Thomas. In response, Ms. Magazine published an article by Rebecca Walker, entitled "Becoming the Third Wave", in which she stated: "I am not a post-feminism feminist. I am the third wave." Many had argued that Thomas should be acquitted because of his plans to create opportunities for people of color. When Walker asked her partner his opinion and he said the same thing, she asked: "When will progressive black men prioritize my rights and well-being?" She wanted racial equality but without dismissing women.
In 1992, dubbed the "Year of the Woman", four women enter the United States Senate to join the two already there. The following year another woman, Kay Bailey Hutchison, won a special election, bringing the number to seven. The 1990s saw the first female United States Attorney General and Secretary of State, as well as the second woman on the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the first US First Lady, Hillary Clinton, to have had an independent political, legal and activist career.
Arguably the biggest challenge to third-wave feminism was that the gains of second-wave feminism were taken for granted, and the importance of feminism not understood. Baumgardner and Richards (2000) wrote: "[F]or anyone born after the early 1960's, the presence of feminism in our lives is taken for granted. For our generation, feminism is like fluoride. We scarcely notice that we have it—it's simply in the water."
Essentially the claim was that gender equality had already been achieved, via the first two waves, and further attempts to push for women's rights were irrelevant and unnecessary, or perhaps even pushed the pendulum too far in women's favor. This issue manifested itself in the heated debates about whether affirmative action was creating gender equality or punishing white, middle-class males for the biological history that they had inherited. Third-wave feminism therefore focused on consciousness-raising—"one's ability to open their mind to the fact that male domination does affect the women of our generation, is what we need.
Third-wave feminists often engaged in "micro-politics", and challenged the second wave's paradigm as to what was good for women. Proponents of third-wave feminism said that it allowed women to define feminism for themselves. Describing third-wave feminism in Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism And The Future (2000), Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards suggested that feminism could change with every generation and individual:
The fact that feminism is no longer limited to arenas where we expect to see it—NOW, Ms., women's studies, and redsuited congresswomen—perhaps means that young women today have really reaped what feminism has sown. Raised after Title IX and William Wants a Doll [sic], young women emerged from college or high school or two years of marriage or their first job and began challenging some of the received wisdom of the past ten or twenty years of feminism. We're not doing feminism the same way that the seventies feminists did it; being liberated doesn't mean copying what came before but finding one's own way—a way that is genuine to one's own generation.
Third-wave ideology focused on a more post-structuralist interpretation of gender and sexuality. Post-structuralist feminists saw binaries such as male-female as an artificial construct created to maintain the power of the dominant group.Joan W. Scott wrote in 1998 that "poststructuralists insist that words and texts have no fixed or intrinsic meanings, that there is no transparent or self-evident relationship between them and either ideas or things, no basic or ultimate correspondence between language and the world"[b]
Relationship with second wave
Amy Richards defined the feminist culture for the third wave as "third wave because it's an expression of having grown up with feminism". Second-wave feminists grew up where the politics intertwined within the culture, such as "Kennedy, the Vietnam War, civil rights, and women's rights". In contrast, the third wave sprang from a culture of "punk-rock, hip-hop, 'zines, products, consumerism and the Internet". In an essay entitled "Generations, Academic Feminists in dialogue" Diane Elam wrote:
"This problem manifests itself when senior feminists insist that junior feminists be good daughters, defending the same kind of feminism their mothers advocated. Questions and criticisms are allowed, but only if they proceed from the approved brand of feminism. Daughters are not allowed to invent new ways of thinking and doing feminism for themselves; feminists' politics should take the same shape that it has always assumed."
Rebecca Walker, in To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism (1995), wrote about her fear of rejection by her mother (Alice Walker) and her godmother (Gloria Steinem) for challenging their views:
"Young Women feminists find themselves watching their speech and tone in their works so as not to upset their elder feminist mothers. There is a definite gap among feminists who consider themselves to be second-wave and those who would label themselves as third-wave. Although, the age criteria for second-wave feminists and third-wave feminists is murky, younger feminists definitely have a hard time proving themselves worthy as feminist scholars and activists."
Violence against women
Violence against women, including rape, domestic violence, and sexual harassment, became a central issue. Organizations such as V-Day formed with the goal of ending gender violence, and artistic expressions, such as The Vagina Monologues, generated awareness. Third-wave feminists wanted to transform traditional notions of sexuality and embrace "an exploration of women's feelings about sexuality that included vagina-centred topics as diverse as orgasm, birth, and rape".
Main article: Reproductive rights
One of third-wave feminism's primary goals was to demonstrate that access to contraception and abortion are women's reproductive rights. According to Baumgardner and Richards, "It is not feminism's goal to control any woman's fertility, only to free each woman to control her own." South Dakota's 2006 attempt to ban abortion in all cases, except when necessary to protect the mother's life, and the US Supreme Court's vote to uphold the partial birth abortion ban were viewed as restrictions on women's civil and reproductive rights. Restrictions on abortion in the US, which was mostly legalized by the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, were becoming more common in states around the country. These included mandatory waiting periods, parental-consent laws, and spousal-consent laws.
Reclaiming derogatory terms
English speakers continued to use words such as spinster, bitch, whore, and cunt to refer to women in derogatory ways. Inga Muscio wrote, "I posit that we're free to seize a word that was kidnapped and co-opted in a pain-filled, distant past, with a ransom that cost our grandmothers' freedom, children, traditions, pride and land." Taking back the word bitch was fueled by the single "All Women Are Bitches" (1994) by the all-woman band Fifth Column, and by the book Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women (1999) by Elizabeth Wurtzel.
The utility of the reclamation strategy became a hot topic with the introduction of SlutWalks in 2011. The first took place in Toronto on 3 April that year in response to a Toronto police officer's remark that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized." Additional SlutWalks sprang up internationally, including in Berlin, London, New York City, Seattle, and West Hollywood. Several feminist bloggers criticized the campaign; reclamation of the word slut, a violent word, was questioned.
Third-wave feminism regarded race, social class, transgender rights, and sexual liberation as central issues. It also paid attention to workplace matters such as the glass ceiling, unfair maternity-leave policies, motherhood support for single mothers by means of welfare and child care, respect for working mothers, and the rights of mothers who decide to leave their careers to raise their children full-time.
Lack of cohesion
One issue raised by critics was a lack of cohesion because of the absence of a single cause for third-wave feminism. The first wave fought for and gained the right for women to vote. The second wave fought for the right for women to have access to and equal opportunity in the workforce, as well as the end of legal sex discrimination. The third wave allegedly lacked a cohesive goal and was often seen as an extension of the second wave. Some argued that the third wave could be dubbed the "Second Wave, Part Two" when it came to the politics of feminism and that "only young feminist culture" was "truly third wave". One argument ran that the equation of third-wave feminism with individualism prevented the movement from growing and moving towards political goals. Kathleen P. Iannello wrote:
"The conceptual and real-world "trap" of choice feminism (between work and home) has led women to challenge each other rather than the patriarchy. Individualism conceived of as "choice" does not empower women; it silences them and prevents feminism from becoming a political movement and addressing the real issues of distribution of resources."
Objection to "wave construct"
Feminist scholars such as Shira Tarrant objected to the "wave construct" because it ignored important progress between the periods. Furthermore, if feminism is a global movement, she argued, the fact that the "first-, second-, and third waves time periods correspond most closely to American feminist developments" raises serious problems about how feminism fails to recognize the history of political issues around the world.
Third-wave feminism was often associated, primarily by its critics, with the emergence of so-called "lipstick" or "girly" feminists and the rise of "raunch culture". This was because these new feminists advocated for "expressions of femininity and female sexuality as a challenge to objectification". Accordingly, this included the dismissal of any restriction, whether deemed patriarchal or feminist, to define or control how women or girls should dress, act, or generally express themselves. These emerging positions stood in stark contrast with the anti-pornography strains of feminism prevalent in the 1980s. Second-wave feminism viewed pornography as encouraging violence towards women. The new feminists posited that the ability to make autonomous choices about self-expression could be an empowering act of resistance, not simply internalized oppression.
Such views were critiqued because of the subjective nature of empowerment and autonomy. Scholars were unsure whether empowerment was best measured as an "internal feeling of power and agency" or as an external "measure of power and control". Moreover they critiqued an over-investment in "a model of free will and choice" in the marketplace of identities and ideas. Regardless, the "girly" feminists attempted to be open to all different selves while maintaining a dialogue about the meaning of identity and femininity in the contemporary world.
Third-wave feminists said that these viewpoints should not be limited by the label "girly" feminism or regarded as simply advocating for "raunch culture". Rather, they sought to be inclusive of the many diverse roles women fulfill. Gender scholars Linda Duits and Liesbet van Zoonen highlighted this inclusivity by looking at the politicization of women's clothing choices and how the "controversial sartorial choices of girls" and women are constituted in public discourse as "a locus of necessary regulation". Thus the "hijab" and the "belly shirt", as dress choices, were both identified as requiring regulation but for different reasons. Both caused controversy, while appearing to be opposing forms of self-expression. Through the lens of "girly" feminists, one can view both as symbolic of "political agency and resistance to objectification". The "hijab" could be seen as an act of resistance against Western ambivalence towards Islamic identity, and the "belly shirt" an act of resistance against patriarchal society's narrow views of female sexuality. Both were regarded as valid forms of self-expression.
|1990||Publication of Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth.|
|1991||Riot grrrl movement begins in Olympia, Washington and Washington, D.C. in the US.|||
|March 1991||In R v R, the House of Lords in the UK rules that a marital rape exemption does not exist in English law.|
|March 1991||In United Automobile Workers v. Johnson Controls, Inc., the US Supreme Court declares that employers cannot exclude women from jobs in which exposure to toxic substances could harm a developing fetus.|||
|May 1991||Release of the film Thelma and Louise: "It took all those feelings of alienation and anger—which until that point had mostly found expression in things like 'Take Back the Night' rallies—and turned them into something rebellious, transgressive, iconic, punk rock and mainstream." – Carina Chocano, New York Times.|||
|31 July 1991||The US Senate votes overwhelmingly to open combat positions for women aviators.|||
|1991||Susan Faludi publishes Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women.|||
|July 1991||Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination and the televised testimony in October of Anita Hill that he had sexually harassed her.|
|October 1991||"Opportunity 2000" is launched in the UK to increase women's employment opportunities.|||
|January 1992||In response to the Thomas nomination, American feminist Rebecca Walker publishes "Becoming the Third Wave" in Ms. Magazine.|||
|1992||Four women enter the US Senate to join the two already there, lending 1992 the label "Year of the Woman" in the US.|
|1992||Third Wave Direct Action Corporation (later Third Wave Foundation) founded in the US by Rebecca Walker and Shannon Liss to support young activists|||
|1993||Family and Medical Leave Act becomes law in the US.|||
|1993||Janet Reno nominated and confirmed as the first female US Attorney General after President Bill Clinton's previous choices, Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood, fail because of Nannygate.|
|1993||"Take Our Daughters to Work Day" debuts in the US to build girls' self-esteem and open their eyes to a variety of career possibilities for women. It was later renamed Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.|||
|1993||First edition of Bust magazine appears, founded by Laurie Henzel, Marcelle Karp, and Debbie Stoller.|
|1994||Women taking back the word bitch are helped by the single "All Women Are Bitches" by the all-woman Canadian band Fifth Column.|
|1994||Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 confirms that marital rape is illegal in the UK.|||
|1994||Violence Against Women Act becomes law in the US and establishes the Office on Violence Against Women.|||
|1995||Publication of Rebecca Walker (ed.), To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism.|||
|1995||Fourth World Conference on Women held in China.|||
|1996||Northern Ireland Women's Coalition founded.|||
|1996||Feminist play The Vagina Monologues, by American playwright Eve Ensler, premieres in New York.|||
|1996||In United States v. Virginia, the US Supreme Court rules that male-only admissions policy of state-supported Virginia Military Institute violates the Fourteenth Amendment.|||
|1996||First edition of the magazine Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture appears.|||
|1997||Publication of Leslie Heywood and Jennifer Drake (eds.), Third Wave Agenda: Being Feminist, Doing Feminism.|
|1997||Turkish feminist Şenal Sarıhan shared the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.|
|1997||Layli Miller-Muro founds the Tahirih Justice Center in the US following Matter of Kasinga, an asylum case dealing with female genital mutilation.|||
|1998||Eve Ensler and others, including Willa Shalit, a producer of the Westside Theatre production of The Vagina Monologues, launch V-Day, a global non-profit movement that raises over $75 million for women's anti-violence groups.|||
|1999||Publication of Germaine Greer, The Whole Woman|
|1999||Publication of Marcelle Karp and Debbie Stoller (eds.), The BUST Guide to the New Girl Order.|
|1999||Publication of Elizabeth Wurtzel, Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women.|||
- ^Steve Feliciano (New York Public Library, 2013): "The emergence of the Riot Grrrl movement began in the early 1990s, when a group of women in Olympia, Washington, held a meeting to discuss how to address sexism in the punk scene. The women decided they wanted to start a 'girl riot' against a society they felt offered no validation of women's experiences. And thus the Riot Grrrl movement was born."
- ^Amber Lynn Zimmerman, M. Joan McDermott, and Christina M. Gould wrote in 2009 that third-wave feminism offered five primary focuses: (1) Responsible choice grounded in dialogue; (2) respect and appreciation for experiences and dynamic knowledge; (3) an understanding of "the personal is political" that incorporates both the idea that personal experiences have roots in structural problems and the idea that responsible, individuated personal action has social consequences; (4) use of personal narratives in both theorizing and political activism; (5) political activism as local, with global connections and consequences.