The Main Achievements of Feminism

We decided to act as rebels and publish this material not on March 8, but in February, so that you have time to learn more about what the women’s movement has done and what we owe it.

The right of women to vote

For a long time, women did not have the right to vote in elections due to the patriarchal system. They had limited opportunities and privileges: they depended on their father/husband and, accordingly, did not have the right to vote. Even after the introduction of this right, some women were barred from running for a long time because of their race or social status.

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In the early 20th century, women began to actively defend their freedoms and take to the streets, demanding the right to vote and equal pay for women and men. At the end of the 19th century, women were only allowed to vote in New Zealand. Legislation at the international level enshrined the right of women to vote only in 1948. Even after that, in many countries, half of the population did not have the right to vote in elections: for example, in Kuwait, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia, women received this right only at the beginning of the 21st century. In the Vatican, only men can still vote and come to power.

Women’s right to education

With women’s education, things are not so simple: on the one hand, in medieval Europe, girls could master science and art, learn languages, and so on. On the other hand, education for women was often class (heirs of rich families could receive it, and girls from poor – no). And in many countries outside Europe, women did not have access to education. For a long time, the girls did not attend schools – teachers came to their homes.

Of course, women were not satisfied with selective access to education or lack thereof at all. The problem began to be actively raised in the 19th century. Several London universities (Royal and Bedford Colleges) began recruiting students. Julie-Victoire Dobier became the first student of the university. A like-minded girl was able to win the right for women to take bachelor’s degree exams in all French universities.

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Unfortunately, there are still countries where the issue of education for girls remains open, and not everyone has the opportunity to study at school or, moreover, at university. In Pakistan, for example, even schooling for girls is controversial because conservatives advocate a lack of women’s education.

The right to make decisions about their body

In particular, the right to decide whether to leave the (un) desired child. The age-old struggle between the movements of prolifers and processors, the advantage of which is now, rather, on the side of free choice. In many countries around the world, women can terminate an unwanted pregnancy (although up to a certain period – usually up to 12 weeks and up to 20, if medically).

The USSR, by the way, was the first state to legalize abortion. However, they were banned just as quickly. But after an increase in the number of clandestine operations that maimed women, abortions were officially allowed again.

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Women mostly have access to contraceptives (femidoms, IUDs, birth control pills) and can avoid unwanted pregnancies.

But we still have problems with reproductive law: in many countries around the world, women can have abortions, but in Ireland, which is considered quite progressive, until 2018, pregnancies could only be terminated on medical grounds. In 2016, Poland considered a bill that would introduce criminal liability for both the doctor who performs the abortion and the girl who initiated the operation. Women took to the streets demanding the repeal of the bill, defending their reproductive rights. The project was later rejected due to mass protests in the country.

Women’s right to choose

Wear a skirt or pants, get an education, choose a family or a career, be able to manage a property on your own, and not depend on your father/husband for life… We have all these thanks to the feminist movement, fearless women who once fought for their rights and rights all the girls in the world.

There are still many problems: the “glass ceiling”, the inaccessibility of many professions for women, discrimination, sexism, objectification, and so on. And these problems should ideally be resolved as soon as possible. But important steps towards equality between women and men have already been taken. And for the opportunity to choose that we have now, we are immensely grateful.

Anastasia Fetter

Anastasia Fetter