What is feminism?


Feminism is a belief that men and women are equal and both the genders have equal rights and opportunities. It is a movement which seeks to achieve equity for both the genders in all the aspects[1]. This concept of equality originated at around 1837 when this term was first used by Charles Fourier, a French Philosopher. Later it got spread to Netherlands and Great Britain and by 1910, it got spread to USA[2]. The entire origination i.e. history, it can be divided into 3 waves feminism. The first wave feminism was between 1830’s to early 1900’s, where women fought for equal contract and property rights as during that time women were taken for granted. It was seen that women had the capability to perform as equal to men. The second wave was between 1960’s to 1980’s, where women were struggling for votes and equal rights in the marriage. The third-wave feminism was in the late twentieth century and even IT continues into the contemporary world[3]. By interpreting these waves, it can be further mentioned that the sole aim to introduce this concept was to ensure and assure that women get equal status as to men and also, they are provided with similar rights and opportunities. But today there are debates regarding this issue due to its misinterpretation. This article will deal with the same.


A belief, set of ideology and theory[4] that men and women possess equal social, economic and political status in society is called feminism[5]. Through many generations, we have had a patriarchal society, this concept serves as a movement so both the sexes gain an equal status in the society. It tries to achieve privileges and opportunities for women and men; to improve each individual’s lives and living conditions; so that they have similar levels of power, prosperity, influence and respect; and to change social attitudes that are rigid, derogatory and usually discriminate among the genders. In here, no gender specifically receives a special treatment than the other genders.

There is a tremendous disagreement towards the equal status and this issue has been misinterpreted by most of people. Due to this reason, there are people who are do not approve feminism. Some of the reasons as to why it is seen in a negative way are:

It is feared that women will overpower men due to feminism

It is very important to understand that feminism is not solely related to struggle or fight for women’s rights. It lays down equality for all of the genders. The reason why there are a greater number of women fighting and involved in the feminism movements is because we have had a history of women getting suppressed. To remove all the barriers and overcome all the notions and norms the society holds towards women, is it important to provide them with their rights. No gender gets suppressed but it is to ensure that each and every individual join has an equal position in the society.

It is advantage of one’s gender

This is again a misunderstood notion by many of us. Emphasizing on the definition again, it means promoting equal rights for everyone irrespective of the any gender and on the other hand, feminist is person who supports feminism. A feminist can be a woman or a man. In the contemporary world, women are still treated unequally and it is important to fight for their rights and opportunities. Therefore, to eradicate the unequal treatment, there are feminist movements. Many claim that females are trying to oppress men using this concept but the truth being that females require equal treatment and opportunity for everyone[6]. Rather it puts an end to gender roles which are created by the society not only for the women but also for the men.

Only women can be feminists

The movement or theory of feminism is only to achieve equal status as to all the other genders. Feminist, as stated above, is a person who follows and supports feminism, irrespective of the gender. There might be men supporting the same and on the other hand there might be women with a mindset that there should not be any equal rights. The main and sole objective is to fight with anyone having the mentality of promoting a particular gender and not specifically men[7].

Women want everything easy and want to be privileged

This is one of the most common misconceptions that one has with respect to feminism. This is completely a false statement as women understand the difference between being equal and being privileged. They do not demand for a separate or a higher forum but what they claim is a platform where they can be heard from just like others. It is not easy for a woman to survive in a patriarchal society, hence to have an individual stand and opinion is what women ask for.


In an Indian society, where women are supposed to cook and men are supposed to work is also one of the many societal norms. Many girls are still not allowed to work or study further after their graduation. There are still certain rules existing which are basically standards set by the society to be followed by a woman in order to survive – to take active participation in the household chores, to follow a certain conduct of behaviour, to have a male support throughout her life and many more. These are the main reason which led to feminist movements. These misconceptions stated above arise due to ignorance. Everyone should be well aware of the facts around the society and fight against what is wrong. It completely surrounds around the political, economical and social equality of the genders. It is not about taking advantage of a gender and putting the female sex on to the top. This is all about how everyone should be treated fairly in all the fields, be it at workplace or family or anywhere else. Women might have legislations for them, or voting power, but still they lack equal treatment at workplaces, educational institutions etc. The aim of feminism is to create non-discrimination, which is vital so that no one is deprived of their rights due to race, gender, language, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity etc.

“The views of the authors are personal


[1]Jone Johnson Lewis, The Core Ideas and Beliefs of Feminism, thoughtco. (October 6, 2019)https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-feminism-3528958

[2]Amber Pariona, What is Feminism?, worldatlas (April 25, 2017), https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-is-feminism.html

[3]Linn Varacalli Cavanaugh, A Brief History: Four Waves of Feminism, Progressive Women’s Leadership (June 08, 2018), https://www.progressivewomensleadership.com/a-brief-history-the-four-waves-of-feminism/

[4]ibid 1

[5]Launa Brunell, Elanor Burkett, Feminism, Britannica Encyclopaedia, (March 05, 2020) https://www.britannica.com/topic/feminism

[6]Ibid 1

[7]Emma Cueto, 10 Ways Men Can Be Feminist Allies, Because Yes, Feminism Is For Everybody, Bustle (October, 2015), https://www.bustle.com/articles/117595-10-ways-men-can-be-feminist-allies-because-yes-feminism-is-for-everybody

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