Civil Rights versus Feminist Movements

The early and mid 20[th] century was a period of major revolutionary mass movements that had great impact on governance, ethical perceptions, representation as well as individual rights in many places all over the world. Even though the US case has been constantly in the limelight due to its highly publicized historical account, civil and feminist movements occurred in most countries in Europe too, albeit in different forms and to different end (A&E Television Networks, LLC ). This essay will analyze the worldwide Civil Rights and Feminist Movements of the 20[th] centuries, with the aim of establishing their differences and similarities.
Civil Rights Movements
Civil Rights are a term that envelops a diverse number of issues that pertain to collective human rights and freedoms including Rights to property, work, equality, life among others. It also represented basic freedoms such as freedom from discrimination, freedom of association among others. Civil Rights broadly advocate for equality before the law. In the period 1950-1980, various regions in the world experienced different forms of resistance to governments with a view to achieve better representation and realize individual rights. In the US, civil rights movements were mainly channeled in combating ethnicity. Different leaders informally pushed for abolishment of white – black divisions in public facilities access, notably Martin Luther Jnr, Jesse Jackson, and James Farmer among others. While there were concurrent movements for gender issues, ethnicity was the most popular civil movement issue in US. Popular movements included the Montgomery Bus Boycott as well as freedom summer and rise of Black Nationalism.
In France, civil rights movements took a broader, more non-specific dimension, starting with student strikes in 1968 and proceeding to become a general workers strike and ultimately a popular uprising which threatened to collapse the government. It encompassed a variety of issues including individual freedoms, sexuality and education. Canada, during the Quite Revolution of 1960, experienced a civil rights movement whose main agenda was unlike those in US and France. Canadian masses were revolting against corruption and poor governance, calling for integrity and accountability. Notably, unlike other movements which sort to unite people in a nation, the quite movement led to segregation of Quebec from the rest of Canada in terms of official language (adopted French) and certain elements of government. Germany experienced the German Student Movement in 1960, aimed at resisting ideologies propagated by the Nazi regime especially anti Semitism and poor living conditions. Similar, and numerous, human rights were ongoing within Europe, Africa, Asia and elsewhere in the world.
The Feminist Movement
The Feminist movement, while gaining popularity around the same time as the Civil rights movement, was mainly centered on women issues including equal pay and empowerment, maternity leave, domestic violence, sexual harassment and violence, reproductive issues, and suffrage. The feminist movement, however, had started as early as the 18[th] century and was ongoing in different places in the world. The Feminist Movement took place in three stages. The first stage, popularized by the 1848 Declaration of Sentiments signed by 68 women and 32 men, mainly addressed suffrage issues, including gender equality in society and women`s voting rights. National Women Rights Convention meetings were held annually between 1850 and 1857, and the first stage ended with signing of the 20[th] Amendment to the National Constitution in 1920.
The second wave of feminist movement occurred mainly between 1960 and 1990, and mainly focused on gender equality. The movement was largely inspired by works of Betty Friedan, and sort to address the middle class woman`s life. The stage sort to enlighten women on ways of empowering themselves through their inclusion in the politicized issue of society. The third stage strengthened the second one in terms of women representation in social and political platforms. The stage triggered debates concerning aspects such as voting rights for minority communities. This stage saw the introduction of rallying of feminists. Enshrined in the Feminist movement were separate ideologies such as the Black Woman Feminism of the US involving black women rights, as well as women health, religion, heterosexual relations, social rights among others (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services 1). In 1903, the National Women`s Trade Union League (NWTUL) negotiated better trade and wage representation of women.
Civil Rights versus Feminist Movements Similarities
Both movements were concerned with acquisition of human rights and freedoms largely considered as fundamental in nature. For instance, civil rights advocated for issues bordering on individual dignity such as freedom from discrimination and freedom of movement and association. The feminist movement focused on better representation and wages, and the right to work.
Both movements, even though largely dominant in the US, had a global bearing, occurring in various other regions through-out the world. Similar conditions existed in most regions of the world. Both movements brought change in modern societies involving better realization and protection of rights.
Civil Rights versus Feminist Movements Differences
One major difference is that while civil rights usually represented both genders and was only categorized on issues such as basic rights, work, dignity, and discrimination, feminist movements were largely focused only on women issues. It was therefore a struggle of women against society (hooks 35). The feminist movement had started much earlier than the general civil rights movement in the early 18[th] century, but only became popular or significantly successful in the latter half of the 20[th] century. The civil rights movement, on the other hand, spanned a shorter time and was more rapidly successful then the feminist movement (Napikoski). The feminist movement at no time incorporated use of force or armed rebellion, while civil rights movement saw use of force in several instances. In addition, the feminist movement was largely a US movement, while civil rights movements occurred in many regions worldwide.
Works Cited
A&E Television Networks, LLC. Civil Rights Movement. Web. 2013, Accessed 20 February 2013
Hooks, bell . Feminist theory: from margin to center. Cambridge, Massachusetts: South End Press. 2000. Print.
Napikoski, Linda. Goals of the Feminist Movement. Web.2013, Accessed 20 February 2013

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Civil Rights. Web.2013, Accessed 20 February 2013

Sheet Two
Logical Basis of Comparison
Comparison item
Civil rights movement
Feminist movement
1950- 1980
18[th], 19[th] and 20[th] centuries
Region of occurrence
Multiple, mainly US and Europe
Mainly US
Major issues addressed
Discrimination, work, freedoms of movement, association
Women issues, sexuality, reproduction, work, representation
People involved
Cross gender
Rapidly successful
Gradually successful
Block Outline for Comparison
The essay compares and contrast the Civil Rights and the Feminist movements in terms of when they occurred, why, who were represented, which regions were involved, what issues were addressed and outcomes
Civil Rights Movement
When- mainly in the mid 20[th] century
Why- imbalance of society on issues of ethnicity, poverty and rule of law
People involved- disadvantaged/ marginalized groups along poverty, race, work, geographical location
Regions- USA, Europe, Africa, South America, Asia
Issues- Racial discrimination, equality, better wages, religion
Outcome- Rapid success with involvement of violent activity
Feminist Movement
When- 18[th], 19[th] and 20[th] centuries though popularized only in 20[th] century
Why- women oppression in various issues
People involved- women
Regions- mostly popular in US but present through-out the world
Issues- reproduction, sexuality, work, equality, freedoms
Outcome – gradually successful, non violent