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Portal:Feminism

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International Women's Day, Bangladesh (2005)
Feminism involves various movements, hypotheses and philosophies which are concerned with gender inequality, eliminating the oppression of women, and campaigning 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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he Supreme Court which decided the landmark Plessy v. Ferguson case
The Equal Protection Clause is a part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, providing that "no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." In the broadest view, the Equal Protection Clause is part of the United States's continuing attempt to determine what its professed commitment to the proposition that "all men are created equal" should mean in practice. Before its enactment, the Constitution protected individual rights only from invasion by the federal government. After its enactment, the Constitution also protected rights from abridgement by state governments. For a long while after the Clause became a part of the Constitution, it was interpreted narrowly. During and after World War II, however, the United States Supreme Court began to construe the Clause more expansively. During the 1960s, the other two branches of the federal government—the executive and the legislative—joined in, as Congress and the President passed and enforced legislation intended to ensure equality in education, employment, housing, lodging, and government benefits.

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Palestinian costume
Credit: American Colony (Jerusalem) Photo Depart.

A young woman from Ramallah, c. 1898-1914. Until the 1940s, women of Palestine wore elaborate handcrafted garments. The creation and maintenance of these items played a significant role in their lives. A knowledgeable observer could determine a woman's village of origin and social status from her clothing. The circular band near this woman's forehead is a ring of coins made from a portion of her dowry money, and indicates that she is unmarried.

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"Zelda" by Nancy Milford (1919)
Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald (1900 - 1948), born Zelda Sayre in Montgomery, Alabama, was a novelist and the wife of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. She was an icon of the 1920s—dubbed by her husband "the first American Flapper". After the success of his first novel This Side of Paradise, the Fitzgeralds became celebrities. The newspapers of New York saw them as embodiments of the Jazz Age and the Roaring Twenties: young, rich, beautiful, and energetic. She met F. Scott Fitzgerald at a dance, and despite fights and a prolonged break-up, they married in 1920 and spent the early part of the decade as literary celebrities in New York. The strain of her tempestuous marriage, Scott's increasing alcoholism, and her growing instability presaged Zelda's admittance to a sanatorium in 1930. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia. While in a Maryland clinic, she wrote a semi-autobiographical novel, Save Me the Waltz, which was published in 1932. Back in America, Scott went to Hollywood where he tried screenwriting and began an affair with the movie columnist Sheilah Graham. In 1936, Zelda entered the Highland Mental Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina. In 1948, the hospital at which she had been a patient caught fire, causing her death. After a life as an emblem of the Jazz Age, Roaring Twenties, and Lost Generation, Zelda Fitzgerald posthumously found a new role: after a popular 1970 biography portrayed her as a victim of an overbearing husband, she became a feminist icon.

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Pearl S. Buck
The basic discovery about any people is the discovery of the relationship between its men and its women.
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