Feminism: Part 1
Many bloggers have expressed strong views regarding feminism and I can understand why. So I thought I would look briefly (and I mean brief) at the movement and see if it achieve anything positive. Yes, another “HOT” topic!
Like all movements, the feminist movement has many different factions, some very radical others quite conservative. Often the more radical views are stronger and more disturbing and that is what we remember most and any good that may have been achieved is long forgotten. When hearing the word “feminism” we think — the destruction of the family, anti-marriage, gay-rights, anti-Christianity, anti-femininity, wanting it all, total control. And quite right, these are the views of some factions of the feminist movement, but not all.
The Match-girl union
So briefly, what was achieved (it is important to note that it was not only the early feminists pushing for reforms, there were those in government [such as the conservative Robert Peel in the mid 1800’s] and businessmen who also saw the need for change):
- Improved women's legal rights—such as rights of legal protection of women, property rights, voting rights and the opposition of chattel marriages (where men had full legal control over the wife and children).
- Improved workplaces: equal opportunity in work, equal pay (still an issue), maternity leave, gender-specific discrimination, childcare, working hours (and leave to care for children) etc... All of these have created a safer and improved workplace for women and I am thankful for that. However in saying this, this is not equal across all workplaces and some women are still victimised, but it has come a long way since the Victorian age. During this period the working poor, including many women and girls worked in horrendous conditions and thanks to the unions and the feminist movement, change came about. An example of this was the Bryant & May match factory where 1400 women and girls were employed at disgracefully low wages in incredibly toxic conditions (where they often died or became very ill).
- Equal access to education.
- Improved health and safety outcomes for women e.g. in child birth, the protection of battered women. However on a far more controversial level the feminist movement has brought about the rights of women to have a say over their bodies i.e. reproductive rights, birth control and abortion.
Even though these would be considered positive changes in society —it did create discontent among those women who suddenly saw a way out of their current situations. Not all women wanted to be homemakers, others began to articulate their lack of personal fulfilment and those that were so poor saw ways of improving their circumstances that would make their lives easier.
What do you think: Are these improvements or should have things stayed the same? Have these led to other problems/issues? Should girls be taught this part of our modern history?
A sewing factory at the turn of the century
Next week I will look briefly touch on the radical elements of the movement and why the feminist movement is contrary to Scriptures.