Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Patricia B. Christian
Feminism has been defined as a belief that women have been treated unfairly in society and that the situation should be rectified. This definition encompasses the two major aspects of feminism: It is a body of social theory that seeks to explain the universality of women's subordinate status, and it is a social movement acting in the interests of women through political action and other attempts to improve the lot of women. Feminism has profoundly affected virtually all academic disciplines as they have had to respond to criticism of their theoretical paradigms that ignored the effects of gender. Feminist thought has affected the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. In addition, feminism has affected all societal institutions, including the economy, the family, education, religion, and politics. It would be fair to say that feminism and the women's movement have altered the landscape of American life as deeply as ...