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I am taking a course on the Millennium and its effects on our culture. One of our assignments is to do a presentation on a topic of our choice and I want to do it on Feminism for the Millennium. I am not really familiar with the whole history of the Feminist Movement and have only recently heard about the Third Wave. What exactly are the three waves and where is the feminist movement heading as we start the new millennium? I would really appreciate any ideas you could give me for resources. Thank you very much for you help. - Shelby

Thanks for your note to FEMINIST.COM. The first wave of feminism is the time of the abolitionists and suffragettes. These women fought for the abolition of slavery, the right for women to have the vote. They also won women the right to own and inherit property, the right to divorce and to joint custody.

The second wave came alive in the mid-1960s and it's most obvious rallying point was an Equal Rights Amendment, which has yet to come to pass. However, these women also helped legalize the pill, have the right to have an abortion, a mediocre equal pay bill--and they also named things that had previously been described as "life"--like sexual harassment, domestic violence. etc...

The Third Wave has come about mostly because young women who grew up with the Second Wave--wanted a voice of their own. Third Wave has goals similar to Second Wave--and is really meant to push the second wave along toward its goal of full-equality. In the millenium--hopefully we will have more men speaking up for feminism. And also while we have seen more women take on careers, responsiblities that have previously been labelled "masculine" hopefully we will have more men take on things that have been labelled "feminine," this will lead us to a place of not having our qualities defined--or even limited--by our gender.


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