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Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights. Feminism is mainly focused on women's issues, but because feminism seeks gender equality, some feminists argue that men's liberation is therefore a necessary part of feminism, and that men are also harmed by sexism and gender roles. Feminists are "person[s] whose beliefs and behavior[s] are based on feminism."
Feminist theory emerged from these feminist movements and includes general theories and theories about the origins of inequality, and, in some cases, about the social construction of sex and gender, in a variety of disciplines. Feminist activists have campaigned for women's rights—such as in contract, property, and voting—while also promoting women's rights to bodily integrity and autonomy and reproductive rights. They have opposed domestic violence, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. In economics, they have advocated for workplace rights, including equal pay and opportunities for careers and to start businesses.
Some of the earlier forms of feminism have been criticized for being geared towards white, middle-class, educated perspectives. This led to the creation of ethnically-specific or multiculturalist forms of feminism.
- The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin, 3d ed. 1992 (ISBN 0-395-44895-6)).
- Chodorow, Nancy (1989). Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory, New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press.
- Gilligan, Carol (1977). "'In a Different Voice: Women's Conceptions of Self and Morality'". Harvard Educational Review 47 (4): 481–517. http://eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ174986&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=EJ174986. Retrieved 2008-06-08