Basic queries related to feminism. Part-1

Q1) What is feminism and when did it start?                                             

Feminism, one of the most influential ideologies, seeks to analyze the social position of women and lays the foundations for the reform and advancement of women in all areas of society.

This struggle for power, like class and race struggles, is potentially revolutionary. In fact, it is the oldest power struggle, the least public in its manifestations of conflict, and the most fundamental in its impact on society. In the Middle Ages or even ancient times, it makes more sense to start our studies at the end of the 18th century and the French Revolution. The Enlightenment and Revolution influenced women in France and other parts of Europe with the prospect of freedom and revolution. Mary Wollstonecraft is a leading early “feminist” writer and in her book “An Indication of the Rights of Woman (1792)”she says that women should have the same legal rights as men on the basis of equality of humanity, moral worth, rationality and freedom; It was wrong that women were defined by gender as denying their educational, legal, economic and political rights. She declared that there will be a beneficial revolution in the relationship between men and women.

As sensitive as these views appear today, they challenged the male-dominated power structures that ruled all levels of society in the 19th century. With men being liberated, women hoped their interests could be promoted through voting and parliament.

Three “waves” of feminism can be seen: the first between 1830 and 1930, focused mainly on legal and political rights; The second, in the 1960s and 1970s, focused on much more basic personal and relationship issues. The third over the past decade has also been essentially a reflection and re-evaluation of what has been accomplished.

Q1) Do you believe that only certain groups of people should be allowed to have an access to certain opportunities and rights? if no then why do we see this discrimination being practiced and why should anybody decide that?

Before answering the question, let’s deeply understand what equality of opportunity means.

Peter Westen, a renowned philosopher shows that an opportunity is a ternary relationship between a person, some obstacles, and the desired goal; however, a person only has an opportunity if he has a probability to achieve that goal. When you encounter insurmountable obstacles, you will have no chance. This makes it impossible to achieve a goal. For instance, one cannot have an opportunity to become the president of India if he is not a natural-born citizen. Many people, therefore, have no opportunity to become president of India. A person can have an opportunity even in the face of many, quite critical and severe, obstacles. So, a natural-born Indian citizen has the opportunity to become president, but he faces serious obstacles, such as accumulating the relevant number and distribution of votes, social obstructions, and gender obstructions.

For the opportunities to be equivalent within a group, each member of that group must confront obstacles that are not insurmountable. In our example, all Indian-born citizens have equal opportunities, when alterable obstacles such as race, gender, and religion are removed and when main barriers remain, such as getting democratically elected. One exception to alterable obstacles is that of biology. One can put a limit on sociological factors like racism, sexism, and casteism but not on the biological ones. Biology is the reason why men are preferred over women to form an army. The same reason goes for women as nurses are mostly women. You still can give equal opportunity to women to apply in the army but you can’t guarantee the equal outcome as a woman biologically has less stamina, power, and aggression than a man which are imperative to be a part of an army.

Now coming back to the question. No, I do not believe that only certain groups of people should be allowed to have an access to certain opportunities and rights. The real evaluation should be on the main obstacle. We should ultimately try to contain the alterable obstacles like racism, sexism, casteism etcetera. If we are able to minimize these obstacles, it will bring us quite close to achieve equality for opportunity.

The reason why discrimination is being practiced is because the alterable obstacles aren’t getting minimized as the sociological impact of flawed mentality taken from the society and the liberal provisions in the country are letting the young minds get corrupted.

They are taught from starting that, girls are only for household purposes and girls aren’t capable work outside the house.

They are also told that one cast is higher than another or one race is greater than another or one religion is purer than another. This impact does make the upcoming generation susceptible to becoming sexist and racist.