Second wave feminist movement history

Women's Movements in the Americas: Feminism's Second Wave

A second wave of feminism has swept Latin America. Women are discussing the kinds of power they have in their "public" and "private" lives, the kind of power they would like to have, and how to go about getting that power.

Under the healing rays of the sun and the salty ocean air, some 500 Central American women gathered at the beach resort of Montelimar, Nicaragua in March of last year to discuss the question of power. They talked about the power Central American women have in their "public" and "private" lives, the kind of power they would like to have, and how to go about getting that power. The encuentro was the largest and most diverse gathering of Central American women in history, and the first to include lesbian groups and discussion of lesbianism as a formal part of the program. Black women educated conference participants about the pain and joy of the black female experience in the Central American context, and Indian women conducted a workshop comparing and contrasting Indian and mestiza women's identities and relations.

The encuentro was a significant milestone in Latin America's nascent women's movement. During the 1970s and 1980s, the media, the Catholic Church and many political parties promoted pejorative caricatures of feminists as self-indulgent and egotistical, anti-family and anti-male, and divisive of community and class solidarity. Such stigmas made it difficult to imagine that a feminist movement of any significance would ever take root in Latin America.

By the end of the 1980s, however, a "second wave" of feminism–following the first surge of women's mobilization in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century–did occur. The significant role women played in popular and social movements throughout the hemisphere, the exposure to feminism and women's organizations that Latin American women got while in exile, and exchanges with North American and European feminists through solidarity movemerits created fertile ground for the emergence of feminism in a number of Latin American countries, in particular Peru, the Southern Cone, Brazil, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Feminism arrived late in Central America–with the exception of Costa Rica. In part, this was due to the overriding priorities created by war and revolution. The fierce grip on power which foreign and domestic elites have traditionally had in the region also quelled new social movements and kept countries isolated from one another. Multinational corporations have historically made it easier to telephone and trade with the United States than communicate with or travel to another Central American country.

The Montelimar encuentro marked the first time that Central American feminists had ever tried to work together on a region-wide event. Illustrative of the tentative nature of the project, the word "feminist" did not appear in the title of the event because organizers from some countries felt that many women had not yet had a chance to explore the idea in a safe context. Feminism was, however, clearly the driving force behind the questions that framed the discussion groups and workshops, the process or metodologia which guided them, and the encuentro's focus on regional strategies for increasing women's power.

FAQ

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Has the fourth wave of the feminist movement begun?

The current incarnation of feminism (spread primarily through online interactions sometimes culminating in real world protests and events, a la Arab Spring

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What was National organization for women during second feminist wave

Betty Friedan and other leading feminists formed NOW during the second feminist wave. again soon!

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