Liberal feminism

Liberal feminism is the modern form of feminism, characterised by the belief that women themselves have the power to achieve equality. In liberal feminism, the concept of society changing itself to adapt to women does not arise-liberal feminists insist that all that is needed to change the status of women is to change existing laws that are unfavorable for women and that will open up more avenues for women to prove themselves as equal to the opposite sex.

The main criticism of the ideology of liberal feminism has been that, even if there are changes in the judicial system that are favorable to equal rights of women, and women themselves are not dependent on men anymore, they would still be living in a largely patriarchal society. Critics point out that in the end, only changes in societal mindset can effect change in the status of women-no amount of legislature cha change that. It has to come from within each and every one in society-men and women included!

Some of the issues that are in the forefront of liberal feminism are equal rights for education and voting, reproductive rights, abortion rights, protection against sexual harassment and domestic violence, and equal opportunities in the workplace.

Liberal feminism stresses on individual empowerment. Some of the torchbearers of liberal feminism were Mary Wollstonecraft, Betty Friedan, and Gloria Steinem. It could be argued that liberal feminists have been responsible for the huge strides taken by women in various spheres of life-both domestic and public. This can be seen in the marriages where both partners consider each other as partners, or in public administration where more and more women are seeking active and powerful roles, to even the military starting to induct women into high-risk job profiles.

Far from creating disharmony between the sexes, liberal feminism has helped to bridge the gender divide by emphasizing on the complementary nature of both genders, bringing to light the fact that while men and women may be from Mars and Venus, life on earth would be much more fulfilling if both realized each other's inherent capabilities and moved forward in the spirit of mutual respect and acceptance.

Article by Karishma J. Anand


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