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.
The movement continues to fight to protect women and girls from domestic violence, sexual harassment, and rape.  These are important steps for women in all walks of life.

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.


  1. This is a very interesting study, and I can see that you have brought out some points that show that there has been some good from the feminist movement... however, it seems like no matter what you're talking about in life, if you give someone an inch, they will take a mile and women have certainly done that - they have taken that mile for example in the way they now have the right to murder babies legally (abortion), and the right to say "no" to having children for no other reason than that having children would inconvenience them (this is not the reason for all - some women have health issues that mean they need to say no to having children too).
    If only women had been able to gain respect (rather than being thought of as being a possession) and protection etc through education and appropriate discipline of men who were mistreating their wives, rather than allowing women to "let their hair down" so wildly.
    I'm not sure I'm making sense here :P Anyway, you have given me food for thought, and I'm looking forward to reading your next installment in this study!!

  2. Couldn't agree with you more.

    It is such a complex issue and I really struggle to capitulate it into a few words. I found that when I found one positive, it turned into a negative. Health care was one of them - women's health issues made major improvements for women, less died in childbirth but this led to women fighting for the right to have abortions and control their fertility. A good turned bad?

    What is interesting was once women could control having babies it change the whole picture of women working. Now they could work as long as they liked (i.e. the career woman) and completely walk away from the home.

  3. Regarding your last point - that is the failure of society in a nutshell - or at least one of the *major* failures - the career woman. I have no time for the career woman who would rather climb in the business world than to have children - by her own volition. When families break down, society has nothing to rest on.

  4. WOW! You are indeed handling another hot topic. I just love reading your blog. It's great to jump in and just have a go at an issue!

    I will sound wishy-washy and middle of the road here, but I do see both sides of this issue. Absolutely, the improvements to the quality of life that came out of the women's movement are positives. No question. I think, however, that we need to think about men in light of this issue, too. I think that the more radical feminists opened the door for men to also "let their hair down," as Clara put it well. That is, they could relax their standards of behaviour and how they treated women. They no longer had to be protectors and providers, and they no longer had to commit in order to have a physical relationship. Of course, I realise that a lot of men treated women poorly regardless of the societal norms, and I suppose a study would show that there was perhaps not much change, depending on socio-economic status.

    I am rambling, too! Such a big topic. I do believe there have been improvements and advancements for women, but I believe both men and women have taken advantage of the situation and worked it for their own personal agendas. The family has definitely suffered, therefore, so has the whole of society.

    Can't wait for your next installment!

  5. I think of Jezebel and Ahab, when I think of this topic. Jezebel could only control and manipulate her husband, because he was weak and did not walk in the authority of his role. I would even speculate that Jezebel was extremely frustrated and angry that her husband was so weak!

    I am not suggesting all feminists have a Jezebellic 'spirit'... just that they have overcompensated for a lack of true Father role models in their lives. I believe the same goes for homosexuals.

    If the men of society were to walk truly in their God-given role, the women of this feminist persuasion mindset would not have felt the need to go this way. The lack of true fathers manifests in society via such movements as the feminists. Yes, some women have taken things to the extreme. The sickness of the church, the lack of true authority and fathership, reflects in the society around us. The Church needs to set the example first, walk in it's God-given authority, then perhaps society will be more drawn, as He is high and lifted up.

    It is always a case of 'first in the natural, then in the spiritual'. I praise God, that He is building His church and not man... even if only a remnant of people take this calling seriously.

    I see similiarities with 'going to the opposite extreme' (like feminism), with child discipline. Because child abuse is on the rise, society seeks to abolisy all forms of discipline, such as the good old fashioned smack, and label it child abuse also. However, we know the Word of God speaks about sparing the rod and spoiling the child. Society has little concept of separating child abuse from discipline and heaps it all into the one basket.

    It (any weakness/issues) in society are a result of the absence of God and/or Godly role models... and, the lack of authority within the Church... true, apostolic, Spirit-empowered authority. But, I know God is going to have His way, when He reveals His Bride.

    Thought-provoking post Jo! Good on you for tackling this topic. Don't leave us hanging too long for the next chapter lol.

    Blessings to you :o)

  6. Very interesting post Jo! It's a tough topic to discuss and good on you for posting on it.
    I agree with your previous commenters and besides what already been said, I don't have anything deep to comment on at this point:) I look forward to hearing more from you on it!

  7. When I studied the topic, reading all the famous feminist's, what I found interesting was the initial inequity, the male dominance in a very anti-biblical way, especially in the way they treated women. However, what appears to have happened is that anyone strong (in personality, but not niceness) be it male or female, have the same traits that were there before, there are men that still treat woman abysmally, and women who do vice versa. With the changes came materialism +++ thus the need for both partners to work became a must to have the so called good life' with all the issues and problems for the kids of having no-one at home after a few months of birth. Also, the free age came along, and no-one need to be either married, or stay married, and each went after their own interests, creating a most selfish, biased population, with a gap between rich and poor ever so great, drugs, mental health issues now really impacting woman as well as men, created in part from the drug culture, free sex has brought alarming rates of STD's and other wicked diseases, and as a whole, the non-Christian world is sinking into an abyss - as predicted 2500 years ago, plus. My two cents worth! LL S

  8. Jo- I enjoyed reading this post, and I have to say that I agree with all of your points. I'm not a fan of militant feminism, but I also hate to think of a pre mid century world in which women had no legal rights. A woman is not a piece of property, and should not be treated thus. I think that a lot of us, who are rather conservative(!) would be very appalled by how badly women were treated historically. My conclusion seems to be yours thus far - it's not all good, and not all bad.

  9. Thankyou to all for all your comments - I am glad that it sparked a conversation. These topics are always worth investigating, can't decide what is wrong with them unless we look closely at the history.

    It wasn't an easy one to write and required quite a bit of thought and effort:)


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