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I am a student at Neumann College in Pennsylvania. I am trying to complete my research paper on the women's rights movement and how gender, race, and class affect the advancement of women in the political and social arena. If anyone would be able to respond to this I would greatly appreciate this. I started my paper with the first wave of the movement but I am looking to close my paper with where women are today in the political and economically arena. Also I am curious as to how differently you view the third wave of the movement from the first two waves. Any comments would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you,


Dear Linda,

Gender, race and class have everything to do with how women advance in the political and social arena - i.e. wealthier white women have had much more success at advancing than poor Latina women. This is why feminism is often misunderstood as a white women's movement - because white, college-educated, wealthier or middle class women have gained the most from the work of feminists. However, this isn't where feminism ends and that's why we need to constantly put as much emphasis on race and class as we do on gender.

I often speak at college campuses and students say , "but, where are the inequalities?" I explain that they might not have any given their circumstances, but that doesn't mean that other women don't and because feminism isn't a selfish movement, one woman won't be liberated until all women have access to those same resources and choices.

Personally, I don't think there is much of a difference between the second and third waves of feminism. Both have as their goal the full social, political and economic equality of all people. The difference is sometimes on tactics (i.e. the third wave's approach of working within the mainstream rather than against it and via the culture not solely through politics and via consciousness change, not just legislative change.) Plus, young women's contribution to feminism was being overlooked by many second wave feminists, and so they needed this outlet to give visibility to their work, etc. I hope that helps - good luck.


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