Feminism refers to a movement and a set of ideologies aiming at redefining, identifying, and defending the political, economic and social rights of women in society In particular, the major role of feminists is to advocate for equal chances for women in education and employment. The theory emerged from the imaginations of various women who sought to comprehend the nature of gender inequality through the understanding of social roles and various positions of individuals in society. The theory has a different interpretation and definition of gender and sex. Even though there are varieties of feminists, the major aim is to fight for the rights of women in society.
Simone de Beauvoir was of the feminists of the 20th century who contributed immensely to the development of laws meant to protect women from injustices perpetrated by men. The scholar observed that the problems that women face are similar, irrespective of the continent. Since time in memorial, the culture of woman has never been respected, even though their role in society is critical. The main role of a woman is to undertake roles that are degrading the devaluing since their main role is reproduction and taking care of the family. Simone was opposed to the view that the positions ascribed to women are natural since differences in sexes cannot be used to degrade an individual in society.
Since time in memorial, the making of major decisions touching on reproduction is always the preserve of men, even though they are minor shareholders as far as reproduction is concerned. Women have been subjected to violence and intimidation since they are perceived as weak and helpless. Others view women as people who should depend on men for major decisions since they do not have the moral authority to participate in societal development. Even though major world organizations, such as the World Health Organization demands that women be given specific rights, including the right to procure an abortion, the right to use family planning methods in order to control births, the right to access quality reproductive healthcare, and the right to access free reproductive education, the society is yet to accept this claim. In fact, this would inform the decision that women make. Feminists insist that governments of various countries should offer free education on contraceptives in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.
Any women should be protected from practices that would interfere with reproduction, such as gender-based violence, forced sterilization, and female genital mutilation. A number of states have already established stricter laws that are related to gender-based violence. For instance, a man should be jailed for life in case he is found forcing a woman to have sex. This is considered a violation of the woman’s reproductive right since she is expected to engage in sex with consent. Even though, traditional practices that interfere with female reproduction are on the decline, women are still victims of violence. For instance, female inheritance in simple societies is no longer accepted, but it goes on since the society is yet to accept the new roles of women. The government is opposed to the issue of forced marriage, even though culture is the major impediment.
From the views of Simone, feminism and reproduction rights are closely related. Before the advent of feminism, the living conditions of women were very poor since they were perpetually pushed to the periphery, even on matters touching on their own health. Women existed to be seen, but not to be heard, as Simone observed, since they were the properties of men. Just as men owned other properties, such as land, women were also owned in the same way. Traditional practices could not allow women to participate in some activities, such as policy formulation and wealth accumulation (Beauvoir, 2011).
Feminism has shed some light on views of the majority since it advocated for the rights of women, particularly reproductive health. Before feminism, a woman would simply be used as a sex object since she did not have any right. Currently, sex is considered a love affair whereby two people can only do it through consent. Feminism advocated for the provision of free abortion, provision of free family planning contraceptives and methods, abolition of female genital mutilation, and forced marriage. Through legal ratifications, a woman in the modern society has full control of her reproductive health. She can decide when to have a child and when to terminate a pregnancy. This freedom is attributed to the works of feminists, such as Simone, who have achieved a lot regarding reproductive rights of women.
Simone de Beauvoir concluded her views on second sex by observing that men control humanity since women are never mentioned anywhere. Beauvoir (2011) noted that humanity is male and man defines woman not in herself, but as relative to him. Based on this, a woman is not respected in any way since she is viewed as the property of men. Men have misconceived idea that the bodies of women are naturally weak and need the protection of men, which is not actually true.
Beauvoir, S. (2011). The second sex. New York: Vintage Books.