Feminism and Suffragism By Jovanovich-Kelley, Monica
Originating from the French word féminisme, feminism’s first appearance in 1837 is attributed to the social theorist Charles Fourier (1772–1837). Denoting a principle that argues for the rights of women and the equality of the sexes, it grew increasingly popular as a term in the second half of the 19th century, and first appeared in the Oxford Dictionary of English in 1895. As a reform movement with a network of activists comprising both sexes across the Americas and Europe, the championing of political, financial, and social equality for women had its roots in abolitionist and temperance movements of the early 19th century. Roughly divided into three waves, the first began in the mid-1800s and peaked in the United States and Europe between 1890 and 1920. The second took place from the late 1960s to the 1980s, and was followed by a third in the mid-1990s.