Feminism is one of the political movements that emerged in the 19th century, and focused on fighting for the rights of women in through challenging patriarchy ideas in society. In this regard, feminism theories were developed to address a range of issues that affected women and as such, undermined their rights as human beings in society. Among these issues that these theories sought to address include fighting for political rights, addressing economic inequalities, and seeking to end gender stereotypes that had a negative impact on women. Importantly, the analysis of feminism movement reveals that it can be divided into three categories namely first wave feminism, second wave feminism and third wave feminism. This essay explores the second wave feminism, which focused on personal and social issues. Despite the fact that the first wave feminism created a platform for women to enjoy political rights such, it did not address the challenges that women faced in society because of its underlying social structures, thus creating a necessity for the second wave feminism.
To begin with, the second wave feminism argues that the factors that undermined women in society, particular in the homes, were political in nature. For instance, issues that were perceived as personal such as child birth, sex and house chores were characterised as political elements that men used to gain power in society and as such, promote patriarchy and undermine women’s rights. Speaking from this perspective, the facilitators of the second wave feminism reiterated that if a woman was repositioned at the basic social structure such as the family, she would be able to gain significant milestone as far as fighting for her rights and equality in society is concerned. For instance, they argued that if a woman could manage to control when to have children and how many, she would be able to take control of her future by pursuing either her career or education since she was not confined to child rearing. Therefore, the second wave feminism aimed at redefining the political landscape to include personal elements that affect women, since through such a move, they would be able to gain power to fight for their rights.
Similarly, another factor that motivated the second wave feminism to focus on personal and social issues was the need to recognise women as important not only in the home but also in society as a whole. In this regard, the second wave feminists argued that the society had over the years established perceptions and notions that failed to understand that women could exercise their intellectual and creative faculties. For instance, after the end of the Second World War, men returned from war and forced women to leave formal employment and continue with house chores and child birth, since this was perceived to be the place of women. Therefore, most women could not pursue their dreams and careers since the society dictated that their place was at home and not in formal employment. Therefore, the second wave feminism sought to challenge such ideologies with the aim of ensuring that women could pursue their dreams and careers just as men did in society.