Plato, the famous Greek philosopher, in the “Republic” declared complete equality between the sexes.
But only in the middle of 19th century there was some progress in women’s rights.
The term “feminism” was first invented by Alexander Dumas the Younger (1824-95) to give a name to the Movement which was to produce the social and political liberation of women.
Its supporters ware called “feminists”. They asked for complete economic and social equality with men, and consequently, should have the right to vote and participate in government as responsible citizens.
The idea of a change of status originated in North America and Western Europe.
In Britain education was the first sphere in which women fought for equality.
In fact some private schools started to give middle and upper class girls an education which was very similar to that of their brothers.
Britain was probably the least “feminist” in Europe and all the attempts to emancipate women before the First World War were unsuccessful.
Only after the war the “Qualification of Women Act” declared that a woman shall not be disqualified by sex or marriage from being elected to or voting as a member of the Commons House of Parliament”.
1. What did Plato say about equality of the sexes?
2. When was there some progress in women’s rights?
3. What was the main interest of the first feminists?
4. Which equal rights did British women first obtained?
1. Do you think that men and women are really equal today? Why or why not? (Give your answer in no more than 10 lines)