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Feminism


            
             "A doctrine advocating for women the same rights granted men, as in political and economic status" (Soukhanov 405) is one of the definitions used by the dictionary to describe Feminism. The history of feminism takes us as far as the sixth century BC in Greece, when Sappho wrote lesbian poetry and ran a school for girls. Another great feminist was Christine de Pisan, who broke traditional rules of writing, and in the early 1400s published autobiographical novels in France (Hopkins 87). Some years later in France during the French Revolution, Olympe de Gorges, who was one of the most outspoken revolutionaries of the time, challenged the inferiority of women in French society. In her work "Declaration of the Rights of Man", she wrote that "if women could go to the guillotine for breaking laws then logically they should have citizen rights to begin with. Ironically, this feminist woman died at the guillotine herself, having (as the newspapers explained) "forgotten the virtues suited to her sex"." (Crosland 21) Closer to the modern times, American women gained the right to vote in 1920s. On the other side of the world, activists like Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels promoted women liberalization as a part of the socialist revolution in Russia. Their efforts were however stifled twenty years later in the same country where they were once supported. The change of the government contributed to the repression of feminism in the 1940s. In the 1960s, the sexual revolution swept the United States, and women felt freer than ever. Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique" was a bestseller in 1963. Women were in power more than ever.
             With such rich history, full of ups, downs and self-sacrifice, one must ask if this struggle has been in vain. "At the start of the new millennium there were only two women CEOs in Fortune 500 corporations" (Sixel 4) There is evidence of unfair pay to women executives.


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