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This survey of femininity over the last hundred years has revealed very significant shifts in female identity. Much of this has been positive. Many of the goals of nineteenth-century feminism are now accepted features of our society.1 Sexual segregation has been dramatically reduced. Almost all the formal barriers to gender equality have been removed and women enjoy full citizenship. Women’s right to employment and educational opportunities is taken for granted. In education, the performance of girls is surpassing that of boys at almost every stage. Women have made inroads into many previously all-male occupations. Women’s average earnings in relation to men have risen from about 40 per cent to 80 per cent. These and other gains have led to allegations that gender equality has arrived and that there is no longer any need for a feminist movement.
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Notes and References
- 2.G. Bock and S. James, Beyond Equality and Difference: Citizenship, Feminist Politics and Female Subjectivity (London: Routledge, 1992) p. 196.Google Scholar
- 3.M. Benn, Madonna and Child: Towards a New Politics of Motherhood (London: Cape, 1998)Google Scholar
- K. Figes, Life after Birth — What Even Your Friends Won’t Tell You About Motherhood (London: Viking 1998).Google Scholar
- 6.C. Ramazanoglu, ‘Feminism and Liberation’ in L. McDowell and R. Pringle (eds), Defining Women, Social Institutions and Gender Divisions (Cambridge: Polity Press in association with Blackwell and The Open University, 1992) p. 288.Google Scholar
- 7.C. Bacchi, Same Difference: Feminism and Sexual Difference (London: Unwin Hyman, 1990) p. 264.Google Scholar
- 8.J. Lewis, Women in Britain since 1945 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992) p. 90.Google Scholar