Top 5 Feminist Movements


Suffrage Movement

An American suffragette in 1916.
An American suffragette in 1916.
Topical Press Agency/­Getty Images

­Anti-slavery and temperance movements sowed the first seeds of feminism in the mid-1800s. In 1840, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott were denied seats at the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London due to their gender. Rallying other socially minded people together to discuss the status of women, Stanton and Mott organized the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. The Declaration of Sentiments, penned by Stanton, outlined the need for equality among men and women, including voting rights. From there, the suffrage movement progressed, with women including Susan B. Anthony and Sojourner Truth leading the way.

­Yet, the first women's rights advocates in the United States might not describe themselves as feminists. The use of the word "femi­nism" to describe the support for women's rights migrated from France to the United States by 1910 [source: Kelly]. While Suffragettes fought for women's right to vote, feminism includes legal rights, financial independence and the transformation of the relationship between sexes [source: Woloch]. Following the 1920 ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women voting rights, feminism splintered from purely suffrage-oriented groups.