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This criticism led to the creation of ethnically specific or multicultural forms of feminism, including black feminism and intersectional feminism.

Depending on historical moment, culture and country, feminists around the world have had different causes and goals.

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Feminism is a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social rights for women that are equal to those of men.This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment.Feminist movements have campaigned and continue to campaign for women's rights, including the right to vote, to hold public office, to work, to earn fair wages or equal pay, to own property, to receive education, to enter contracts, to have equal rights within marriage, and to have maternity leave.Feminists have also worked to promote bodily autonomy and integrity, and to protect women and girls from rape, sexual harassment, and domestic violence.Feminist campaigns are generally considered to be one of the main forces behind major historical societal changes for women's rights, particularly in the West, where they are near-universally credited with having achieved women's suffrage, gender neutrality in English, reproductive rights for women (including access to contraceptives and abortion), and the right to enter into contracts and own property.

Although feminist advocacy is, and has been, mainly focused on women's rights, some feminists, including bell hooks, argue for the inclusion of men's liberation within its aims because men are also harmed by traditional gender roles.Feminist theory, which emerged from feminist movements, aims to understand the nature of gender inequality by examining women's social roles and lived experience; it has developed theories in a variety of disciplines in order to respond to issues concerning gender.Some forms of feminism have been criticized for taking into account only white, middle class, and educated perspectives.The first wave comprised women's suffrage movements of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, promoting women's right to vote.The second wave was associated with the ideas and actions of the women's liberation movement beginning in the 1960s.The second wave campaigned for legal and social equality for women.