The first wave of feminism was concerned mainly with the adjudication for equal rights to be enjoyed by women. This began around the 19th century and it was particularly a movement for suffrage for the womenfolk. Before this period, there were restrictions on the voting rights of women. The feminist activities in this period were thus directed at fighting for equal voting rights for women. The first wave was a struggle for women to be equal as citizens in public life and, to some extent, equal legal status within the home (Encarta, 2008).
This was informed by the French and American Revolution which both upheld that the principles of equality and freedom should not be restricted to some sections in the society (Jacob, 2001). The second wave of feminism in associated with the activities of the civil rights movement in America. This was around late 1960 and throughout 1970. After the war, groups sprang up that fought for the total emancipation of blacks, women and laborers in America. Prominent of these groups is the womens liberation movement that fought the rights women as regards their position in the society and family.
The issues that were feminist in the second wave dealt with included equal pay and education for women, equal professional opportunities, equal standing in financially and legally, the right of the woman to use contraceptives and decide to do abortion. Reference: ¢ Encarta Microsoft Student (2008) Feminism. ¢ Jacob, M. (2001) The Enlightenment: A Brief History With Documents, Bedford/St. Martins ¢ Freedman, E. (2002) No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women, Ballantine Books