There have always been two schools of activism which have contributed to the women’s equality movement. However, feminism today is mostly associated with hard-line activists. As a result little is spoken about the more moderate strands which have been equally effective (though not as vocal) in raising the status of women and fighting for their rights.
To sum up, egalitarian feminism affirms that men and women are essentially identical and should therefore should be treated the same. Then there are the maternal feminists who have always thought men and women are from different planets entirely and sought to expand traditional roles. The fact that Margaret Thatcher often likened running the country to managing a household springs to mind as an example of ‘maternal’ thinking.
From the time of the Enlightenment women from both groups played vital roles in bringing about the emancipation that we enjoy today by working to improve girls’ education. Ultimately this was the way through to the advancement in rights they could only dream of in those days. In many parts of the world the same challenges still exist today, with campaigners like Malala Yousafzai taking over where activists like the eighteenth century educational reformer Hannah More left off.
As a result of the interest in the origins of my views on feminism I have put together some FAQs based on how I see conservative feminism asserting itself politically in the future.