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The Marxist –Feminist Approach and the Achievements of the Women’s Movements from the Classical Feminist Movements to the Contemporary, Third Wave Feminist Movements

Statement of the Problem

1. How has Marxist Feminism evolved into what is now the contemporary Marxist Feminist Movement?
2. What is the contemporary feminism and what has it achieved since the classical feminist movement?
3. What is the future of the women and the women’s movements in the next 25 years?


Karl Marx espoused and built all the classic foundations of describing and establishing the universe of all these contexts of social organizations and relations with establishing the economic substructure at the bottom as a foundation of the social, political and intellectual superstructure. However, much to much dismay of the some persuasion of the feminist spectrum Marx’ prognosis on the substructure and the superstructure either “assume” the “reproductive forces” or those activities associated with women, i.e. child-rearing and nursing,as the productive forces, these forces being part of the old societal form though without mentioning it and even maybe totally not included them all together in the capitalist societies. Extreme feminist persuasions would even actually write or say about the women function were not totally included in the equation. However, some feminists argue that using the dialectic-materialist approach and the historical perspective (the cross-culture theory), the women’s roles in the society through time may be traced back through closely monitoring the kinship system from the feudalist stage of economic development to the capitalist stage and up to the globalized economic development.

If we have come up with a more precise feminist theoretical framework combining Marxian/Hegelian dialectical materialist approach and the historical approach, then we can say we are ready to test whether these theoretical framework wherein which we could operationalize it in the real world. Recognizing the importance of women we will see how the importance of the role of women has grown in proportion to the social, political and intellectual arena at the globalized economy in the 2nd hald of the 21st century. We would like to see what would be the most likely trends in the next 25 years after tracing back the women’s accomplishments in business, politics, science and education since the time of the classical feminist movements up to the contemporary feminist movements.


Using the marxist approach we could trace the issues and problems on women since earliest in the feudalist system with special interest in the evolution of the kinship system up to the modern stage of economic development. How it emerged to the familial system in modern times up to the differentiation of the state and the economy in the capitalist system and how gender relations came into play given these sytems of social organizations and relations to state the position of the feminist worldview.

This thesis posits that perhaps Marx would just subsume these above mentioned activities in question under the heading of “productive forces”. However since the purpose of this research work is about drawing up the problems of the women and the issues involved in our society now given a global economic world, we would like to establish and clarify where should theories on feminism lie and what space in the great social theories should this fall into in unison with marx’s nalytical writings on social organizations and social relations.
Upon doing this we would like to present what are the contemporary issues that are now seen involved in this globalized economy. What’s happening right now with the women’s movements up to the third wave feminist movements to prove or put forward the point that women are equal partners of the society and see what better ways are there to recommend to effect changes to the society to move forward the full emancipation of women not subordinate the men but to prove to be equal partners in the society and that indeed women actually hold half the sky in the productive processes taking palce in a globalized economy.

The Marxist-Feminsit Theoretical Approach

We employ the the dialectical amterialist approach of Marx on social organizations and relations but we will incorporate the feminist,historical and functional approaches as well.

Premise 1. The basic premise of Marx is the dialectical materialist framework. That the basic organization of life starts from the substructure called the modes of production that before anything else comes-food, clothing, shelter, there must be the actual production of these material things and these varies with various stages of production in history.

Premise 2. The The writings of Marx would start from the dialectics of on one hand the substructure (the economic platform)and on the other hand the superstructure (or the social, political and intellectual platforms). That the material or the being comes before the mental or the consciousness. However, unlike the Hegelian dialectics, there is interaction taking place between the material (the biological, the natural and the environmental aspects ) and the mental or the consciousness.

Premise 3. The Historical Context – To use the historical context we can now track down the different modes of production like nursing and child rearing usually associated with the work of women traditionally.It is ambiguous that Marx should include them in the productive forces that make up the economic structure of society. What our feminists sugggest are that maybe, Marx just subsumed these types of economic activities in question in the feudal stage or mode of production but however overlooked the discussion on the kinship system as force of production found in the feudlistic types of societies. Here at this stage, take note that there is no clear dichotomy between the economic life and the state but actually these two aspects act in unison and no real differentiation of activities or instittutions which determines a particularly different social relations (as compared to the highly differentiated “division of labor “ found in market economies.

Premise 5. What the feminist thinkers propose to do is to look at close contact the kinship system starting from the feudalist mode to have a close look at the issues of gender relations or the women. Using the dialectical materialist approach and the historical context, we look at these social relations from the kinship system up to the time of the globalized market economy to dig out the relevant issues of the women’s problems and find out what would be the practicable solutions in the long run.

Premise 6. To do this is to prove or disprove what our general findings are going to be using this approach and check with the real cases in the real world from the historical point of view of the past and to relate them if there is or there is not in the contemporary time to focus on the social, political and intellectual life citing real and documented references from library research and interview.

Premise. Using the dialectical materialist and the historical approach, we will analyze the various persuasions of the feminist movements from the classical feminist worldview and/or movement t o the social democratic movemenmt to the modern movements of the second wave up to the third wave and how has these movements helped achieve the place of the women in society or in the world’s maps as a force to reckon with.

Topical Outline

I. The Theoretical Framework
A. The Marxist Foundation of the Feminist Approach
1. The dialectic materialist approach or the cross-culture theory
2. The historical approach
B. The Marxist-Feminist Approach
1. The Kinship System
2. The Familial System
3. The State and the Economy
II. The Different Stages of the Feminist Movement-a Historical Perspective
A. The First Feminists
B. Feminism and Social Democracy
C.Modern Feminism-second wave
D. The Third Wave
III. Trends of the Women’s Roles in the Productive Front in Contemporary Society
A. Business
B. Political Life
C. Science/Technology/Education
IV. Projecting Trends in on Women’s Accomplishments (in business, politics, science/technology/education) and the Women’s Movements in the next 25 years
V. Conclusion

Research Methodology

A. Internet and Library Research.
As we have discussed above, the purpose of this thesis would be to see where the women’s issues have gone through time as far as the feminist movement goes. We will select the sector or area in the society’s activities where the social, political and intellectual life is at its peak. We will assess these developments on women in comaprison to the various milestones of the feminsit movements way back f rom the time of Rosa Park up to the time of Anita Hill.

After tracking down the major milestones of the women’s movements we are going to make intelligent projections of what it is to be expected as far as the the women and women’s movements are concerned at least for the next 25 years.
B.Interview with key personalities and figures on the current trends of women in the contemporary society. We will come up with key questions to selected respondents.
Since it will be taxing to interview let’s say Sen. Hilary Clinton we may select key persons in business, politics,science, technology and education who may be readily available .


1. Friedan, Betty. The Sexual Solipsism of Sigmund Freud in the Feminine Mystique. Chapter 6. NY: 1963.

2. Nicholas, Linda. The Contemporary Women’s Movements in Gender and History. Chapter 1. Columbia University: 1986.

3. Nicholas, Linda. The Theoretical Separation of the Domestic and the Economy. Ibid.

4. Blunden, Andy,ed. Simone de Beavoir’s The Second Sex.Penguin :2005.

5. Marx, Karl. A Critique of the German Ideology. Online Version marx?Engels Internet Archive (marxists.org) 2000.

6. Marx, Karl. A Critique on the Political economy. Ibid.(www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1859/critique-pol-economy/preface-abs.htm)

7. Firestone,Shulamith. The Dialectic of Sex. Chapter 1. The Women’s Press: 1979.(www.marxists.org/subject/women/authors/firestone-shulamith/dialectic-sex.htm)

8. Walker, Rebecca.To BE Real:Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism. Anchor: 1995.

9. Millet, kate. The Sexual Politics.Chapter 2. 1968.

10. ‘Reciprocal Bases of National Culture and the Fight for Freedom” in Wretched of the Earth.Pelican: 1959.

11. Horowitz, Daniel.”Rethinking Betty Friedanand the Feminine Mystique:Labor Union Radicalism and feminism in Cold War America.”American Quartrly,Vol. 48.No.1. Mar. 96, pp. 1-42.


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