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First-wave feminism

The first-wave feminism refers to the period of feminist activity during the late 19th and early 20th century, primarily in the United States and the United Kingdom.

The movement was predominantly focused on women’s suffrage, or the right to vote, and achieving other political and legal rights for women. Key figures of this movement include Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Paul.

The movement was successful in achieving many of its goals, including the 19th Amendment adoption in the US Constitution, which granted women the right to vote in 1920. In the UK, women gained the right to vote in 1928.

The phrase “first-wave feminism” was first used by the journalist Martha Lear in an article she wrote for the New York Times Magazine in 1968.

This type of feminism is primarily focused on achieving political equality for women and addressing official discrimination. However, the use of the term “wave” to describe the different stages of feminism has been criticized because it can obscure the contributions of many activists and limit our understanding of the broader movement for women’s rights.

See more resources

Burkett, E. and Brunell, . Laura (2023, January 23). feminism. Encyclopedia Britannica.

First-wave feminism. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved January 23, 2023, from,securing%20women’s%20right%20to%20vote.

Me Too Movement. (n.d.). Get to Know Us: Tarana Burke, Founder. Retrieved February 3, 2023, from

Oxford English Dictionary