The change in women’s historical circumstances and social status has no direct connection with the development of social formations in classical Marxism. It is, however, intimately linked to human progress. Up to the present, social development has undergone five stages, yet the change in women’s status overall has passed through three eras: the age of matriarchy, the age of slavery, and the age of liberation. The age of women’s liberation was inaugurated with the arrival of capitalism, marked by the feminist movement for women’s struggle for liberation and for equality. The women’s rights movement following the end of the Second World War turned away from society toward the family, seeking equal rights in family life. Historically, three forms also have changed the categorizing of women—as natural, domestic, and societal. Socializing the category of women, that is, the recognition of women as a social category, has been linked to the women’s rights movement, an arduous process that serves to promote the progress and unification of humanity. The women’s rights movement subsided after the postwar period but fell far short of thoroughly liberating women. The movement faced strong resistance even in achieving gender equality. Given that the full liberation of women cannot be achieved on its own but only in the struggle to liberate humankind, women’s liberation is a measure of the liberation of humanity as a whole.
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Li Xiaojiang; The Progress of Humanity and Women’s Liberation. differences 1 September 2013; 24 (2): 22–50. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10407391-2335049
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