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Diverse social movement, largely based in the U.S., seeking equal rights and opportunities for women in their economic activities, personal lives, and politics. It is recognized as the second wave of the larger feminist movement. While first-wave feminism of the 19th and early 20th centuries focused on women's legal rights, such as the right to vote, the second-wave feminism of the women's movement peaked in the 1960s and '70s and touched on every area of women's experienceincluding family, sexuality, and work. A variety of U.S. women's groups, including the National Organization for Women, sought to overturn laws that enforced discrimination in matters such as contract and property rights and employment and pay. The movement also sought to broaden women's self-awareness and challenge traditional stereotypes of women as passive, dependent, or irrational. An effort in the 1970s to pass the Equal Rights Amendment failed, but its aims had been largely achieved by other means by the end of the 20th century.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on women's movement, visit Britannica.com.
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