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Portal:Feminism

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International Women's Day, Bangladesh (2005)
Feminism involves various movements, theories and philosophies which are concerned with the issue of gender inequality and humanitarian rights, that advocate eliminating the oppression of women, and that campaign for women's rights and interests. The history of feminism can be divided into three waves. The first wave was in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the second was in the 1960s and 1970s and the third extends from the 1990s to the present. Feminist theory emerged from these feminist movements. It manifests through a variety of disciplines such as feminist geography, feminist history and feminist literary criticism.

Feminism has altered predominant perspectives in a wide range of areas within Western society, ranging from culture to law. Feminist activists have campaigned for women's legal rights (rights of contract, property rights, voting rights); for rights to bodily integrity and autonomy, for abortion rights, and for reproductive rights (including access to contraception and quality prenatal care); for protection from domestic violence, sexual harassment and rape; for workplace rights, including maternity leave and equal pay; and against other forms of discrimination.

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Title page of the original edition of Aradia
Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches is an 1899 book by Charles Godfrey Leland. The book is an attempt to portray the beliefs and rituals of an underground religious witchcraft tradition in Tuscany that had survived for centuries until Leland's claimed discovery of its existence in the 1890s. Scholars have disputed the veracity of this claim. Still, the book has become one of the foundational texts of Wicca and Neo-paganism. Its fifteen chapters portray the origins, beliefs, rituals and spells of an Italian pagan witchcraft tradition. The central figure of that religion is the goddess Aradia who came to Earth to teach the practice of witchcraft to oppressed peasants in order for them to oppose their feudal oppressors and the Christian church. Leland's work remained obscure until the 1950s, when other theories about, and claims of, "pagan witchcraft" survivals began to be widely discussed. Aradia began to be examined within the wider context of such claims. Scholars are divided, with some dismissing Leland's assertion regarding the origins of the manuscript, and others arguing for its authenticity as a unique documentation of folk beliefs.

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Vietnam Veterans Memorial design
Credit: Maya Lin

Maya Lin's original competition submission for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.. Originally designed as a student project at Yale University's School of Architecture in 1981, the memorial is a black granite wall, in the shape of a V, on which the names of American servicemen killed or missing in action from the Vietnam War are inscribed. The architect hoped that "these names, seemingly infinite in number, [would] convey the sense of overwhelming numbers, while unifying these individuals into a whole."

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Queen Mary II of England, after a painting by William Wissing
Mary II reigned as Queen of England and Ireland from 13 February 1689 until her death, and as Queen of Scotland (technically as Mary II of Scotland) from 11 April 1689 until her death. Mary, a Protestant, came to the throne following the Glorious Revolution, which resulted in the deposition of her Roman Catholic father, James II. Mary reigned jointly with her husband and first cousin, William III, who became the sole ruler upon her death. Popular histories usually know the joint reign as that of "William and Mary". Mary, although a sovereign in her own right, did not wield actual power during most of her reign. She did, however, govern the realm when her husband was abroad fighting wars.

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Liz Phair
I am a feminist, and I define myself: Be yourself, because if you can get away with it, that is the ultimate feminist act.
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