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Critically Assess the Achievements of Feminism Since the Publication of 'a Vindication of the Rights of Women'.

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Critically assess the achievements of feminism since the publication of 'A Vindication of the Rights of Women'.

'A Vindication of the Rights of Women' was one of the earliest works of feminist philosophy. It was published in 1792, and has been cited as a spark that ignited the fire of feminism.

The Feminist Movement has effected many changes in Western society, including women's suffrage; broad employment for women at more equitable wages ("equal pay for equal work"); the right to initiate divorce proceedings and "no fault" divorce; the right of women to control their own bodies and medical decisions, including obtaining birth control devices and safe abortions; and many others. Some feminists would argue that there is still much to be done on these fronts, while third wave feminists would disagree and claim that the battle has basically "been won". As Western society has become increasingly accepting of feminist principles, some of these are no longer seen as specifically feminist, because they have been adopted by all or most people. Some beliefs that were radical for their time are now mainstream political thought. Almost no one in Western societies today questions the right of women to vote, choose her own marital partner if any, or to own land, concepts that seemed quite strange only 100 years ago.

Feminists are often proponents of using non-sexist language, using "Ms." to refer to both married and unmarried women, for example, or the ironic use of the term "herstory" instead of "history". Feminists are also often proponents of using gender-inclusive language, such as "humanity" instead of "mankind", or "he or she" in place of "he" where the gender is unknown. Feminists in most cases advance their desired use of language either to promote an equal and respectful treatment of women or to affect the tone of political discourse. This can be seen as a move to change language which has been viewed by some feminists as imbued with sexism - providing for example the case in the English language the word for the general pronoun is "he" or "his" (The child should have his paper and pencils), which is the same as the masculine pronoun (The boy and his truck). These feminists purport that language then directly affects perception of reality. However, to take a post-colonial analysis of this point, many languages other than English may not have such a gendered pronoun instance and thus changing language may not be as important to some feminists as others. Yet, English is becoming more and more universal, and the issue of language may be seen to be of growing importance.

The Feminist movement has certainly affected the nature of heterosexual relationships in Western and other societies. While these effects have generally been seen as positive, there have been some consequences that can be catalogued as negative from the traditional point of view of morals. In some of these relationships, there has been a change in the power relationship between men and women. In these circumstances, women and men have had to adapt to relatively new situations, sometimes causing confusions about role and identity. Women can now avail themselves more to new opportunities, but some have suffered with the demands of trying to live up to the so-called "superwomen" identity, and have struggled to 'have it all', i.e. manage to happily balance a career and family. In response to the family issue, many Socialist feminists blame this on the lack of state-provided childcare facilities. Instead of the onus of childcare resting solely on the female, men have started to recognize their responsibilities to assist



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