Second-wave feminism is a period of feminist activity that first began in the early 1960s in the United States, and eventually spread throughout the Western world and beyond. In the United States the movement lasted through the early 1980s. It later became a worldwide movement that was strong in Europe and parts of Asia, such as Turkey and Israel, where it began in the 1980s, and it began at other times in other countries.
Whereas first-wave feminism focused mainly on suffrage and overturning legal obstacles to gender equality (i.e., voting rights, property rights), second-wave feminism broadened the debate to a wide range of issues: sexuality, family, the workplace, reproductive rights, de facto inequalities, and official legal inequalities. At a time when mainstream women were making job gains in the professions, the military, the media, and sports in large part because of second-wave feminist advocacy, second-wave feminism also drew attention to domestic violence and marital rape issues, establishment of rape crisis and battered women's shelters, and changes in custody and divorce law. Its major effort was the attempted passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the United States Constitution, in which they were defeated by anti-feminists led by Phyllis Schlafly, who argued as an anti-ERA view that the ERA meant women would be drafted into the military.
Many historians view the second-wave feminist era in America as ending in the early 1980s with the intra-feminism disputes of the feminist sex wars over issues such as sexuality and pornography, which ushered in the era of third-wave feminism in the early 1990s.
- Daring to Care: American Nursing and Second-Wave Feminism - Susan Gelfand Malka
- Separate Roads to Feminism: Black, Chicana, and White Feminist Movements in America's Second Wave - Benita Roth