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Portal:Feminism Information

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International Women's Day, Bangladesh (2005)

Feminism is a range of socio-political movements and ideologies that aim to define and establish the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes. Feminism incorporates the position that societies prioritize the male point of view, and that women are treated unjustly within those societies. Efforts to change that include fighting against gender stereotypes and establishing educational, professional, and interpersonal opportunities and outcomes for women that are equal to those for men.

Feminist movements have campaigned and continue to campaign for women's rights, including the right to: vote, hold public office, work, earn equal pay, own property, receive education, enter contracts, have equal rights within marriage, and maternity leave. Feminists have also worked to ensure access to contraception, legal abortions and social integration, and to protect women and girls from rape, sexual harassment, and domestic violence. Changes in female dress standards and acceptable physical activities for females have often been part of feminist movements.

Some scholars consider feminist campaigns to be a main force behind major historical societal changes for women's rights, particularly in the West, where they are near-universally credited with achieving women's suffrage, gender-neutral language, reproductive rights for women (including access to contraceptives and abortion), and the right to enter into contracts and own property. Although feminist advocacy is, and has been, mainly focused on women's rights, some feminists argue for the inclusion of men's liberation within its aims, because they believe that men are also harmed by traditional gender roles. Feminist theory, which emerged from feminist movements, aims to understand the nature of gender inequality by examining women's social roles and lived experience; feminist theorists have developed theories in a variety of disciplines in order to respond to issues concerning gender.

Numerous feminist movements and ideologies have developed over the years and represent different viewpoints and aims. Traditionally, since the 19th century, first-wave liberal feminism that sought political and legal equality through reforms within a liberal democratic framework was contrasted with labour-based proletarian women's movements that over time developed into socialist and Marxist feminism based on class struggle theory. Since the 1960s, both of these traditions are also contrasted with radical feminism that arose from the radical wing of second-wave feminism and that calls for a radical reordering of society to eliminate male supremacy; together liberal, socialist and radical feminism are sometimes called the "Big Three" schools of feminist thought.

Since the late 20th century, many newer forms of feminisms have emerged. Some forms of feminism have been criticized for taking into account only white, middle class, college-educated, heterosexual, or cisgender perspectives. These criticisms have led to the creation of ethnically specific or multicultural forms of feminism, such as black feminism and intersectional feminism. ( Full article...)

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Title page of the original edition of Aradia
Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches is an 1899 book by Charles Godfrey Leland. The book is an attempt to portray the beliefs and rituals of an underground religious witchcraft tradition in Tuscany that had survived for centuries until Leland's claimed discovery of its existence in the 1890s. Scholars have disputed the veracity of this claim. Still, the book has become one of the foundational texts of Wicca and Neo-paganism. Its fifteen chapters portray the origins, beliefs, rituals and spells of an Italian pagan witchcraft tradition. The central figure of that religion is the goddess Aradia who came to Earth to teach the practice of witchcraft to oppressed peasants in order for them to oppose their feudal oppressors and the Christian church. Leland's work remained obscure until the 1950s, when other theories about, and claims of, "pagan witchcraft" survivals began to be widely discussed. Aradia began to be examined within the wider context of such claims. Scholars are divided, with some dismissing Leland's assertion regarding the origins of the manuscript, and others arguing for its authenticity as a unique documentation of folk beliefs.

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Maik' (apprentice geisha) and nape make-up
Credit: Daniel Bachler

A photo of two maiko (apprentice geisha), with the typical make-up clearly visible, leaving portions of the nape uncovered. This is done to accentuate what is a traditionally erotic area. The white face make-up is supposed to resemble a mask, and a line of bare skin around the hairline helps create that illusion. Established geisha generally wear full white face makeup characteristic of maiko only during special performances.

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Hoda Shaarawi (at right)

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Does being a feminist mean that I believe I'm as good as any man? Yes.

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Rachel Carson
Rachel Carson was an American marine biologist and nature writer whose writings are often credited with launching the global environmental movement. Carson started her career as a biologist in the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, and transitioned to a full-time nature writer in the 1950s. Her widely praised 1951 bestseller The Sea Around Us won her financial security and recognition as a gifted writer. Her next book, The Edge of the Sea, and the republished version of her first book, Under the Sea-Wind, were also bestsellers. Together, her sea trilogy explores the gamut of ocean life, from the shores to the surface to the deep sea. In the late 1950s, Carson turned her attention to conservation and the environmental problems caused by synthetic pesticides. The result was Silent Spring (1962), which brought environmental concerns to an unprecedented portion of the American public. Silent Spring spurred a reversal in national pesticide policy—leading to a nationwide ban on DDT and other pesticides—and the grassroots environmental movement it inspired led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. Carson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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