26 April 2018
Glossary of Gender & Feminist Terms PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 19 November 2009 15:45


ABORTION is one of the central problems of any feminism (both Marxist feminism and liberal feminism, and especially radical feminism). From the feminist point of view the woman has a full right to decide the destiny of a blastemal in her body not only in those cases stipulated and allowed by the laws of a majority of countries where abortion is allowed by law, but also:

-in case of pregnancy caused by UNETHICAL behavior, - i.e. when a pregnancy was as a result of a rape or an incest;
-in case of MEDICAL reasons are not in favor of pregnancy, - i.e. if being pregnant or giving a birth to a child can lead to a death or an irreparable damage to the health of a mother;
and in case of EUGENIC reasons, - i.e. if a genetic disability is revealed in the blastemal which will result in giving a birth to a child with physical or mental disabilities or with missing parts of a body.


In the post Socialist countries (excluding the states conducting a restrictive demographic policy -- China, India, etc.) abortions made due to SOCIAL reasons were quite common, - i.e. in case when a woman or parents cannot afford to care about the child and grow him/her up.


A distinctive feature of the feminist approach to the abortion problem is an autonomy and self-sufficiency of a choice of the woman. According to this approach no reasons of an economic, cultural or psychological nature should prevail over a unique impulse to make (or not make) an abortion, - i.e. no reasons should prevail over the woman's own will.


The feminists when speaking about the absolute right of the woman to freely reproduce, express also an opposite opinion: a possibility and a social acceptability for the woman to have a child without a husband. The woman has a right to have so many children how many she wishes, and at that time when she wishes. A question for a woman arises about children quality education, feeling love to them and feeling responsibility for their destiny.


BENEFICENT DISCRIMINATION OF WOMEN (positive discrimination) is a term that means a bundle of many restrictions imposed on a women and caused by women' reproductive role. For example, a prohibition of working during night hours and overtime hours, a prohibition of heavy physical work for women, a prohibition of raising weights, etc.


From the feminists point of view the woman should choose herself her income sources, professional field and working conditions according to her own aspirations and life circumstances. The Labor laws wordings such as ‘is forbidden for women' per se break the principle of equality of males and females by giving to the woman a subordinated role.


The "beneficent" discrimination of women serves as a veiled mechanism for pushing women away from earnings sources in an unstable economic development environment or in case of decreasing number of jobs.


THE GENDER term is a social and cultural construction of a gender (the word ‘Gender' means in English a grammatic gender (male, female or average) representing a complex of given signs and features for males and females behavior, lifestyles, thought logics, norms, preferences, life aspirations, etc. Unlike a biological concept (the word ‘Sex' in English) representing a complex of genetically given anatomic and physiological functions and features of a human being, the term ‘GENDER' means a particular social and cultural context in a given society at a given period of time and, thus, the term ‘Gender' is different at a particular time and place. The term ‘Gender' is an outcome of a socialization process, while the term ‘Sex' is a result of the evolution.


GENDER ROLES are behavior patterns of males and females based on the traditional expectations re-garding their behavior for the representatives of a particular gender; the gender roles represent sets of standard norms and rules of behavior which are commonly perceived for people in a particular situa-tion at a particular social and cultural environment (the norms and rules are considered standard from the point of view of a particular culture).


INCREASING SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS GROUPS represent the forms for spreading the feminists' ideas at the grassroots (grassroots group literally means «grass roots» in English), i.e. the groups uniting from 3 to 20 women that in an informal environment discuss spiritual and physical state of women, their re-lations in their families regarding growing up children, their professional interests and creativity, their social activities in efforts to change the existing customs according to which the woman has a subor-dinate role. Increasing Self-consciousness Groups are effective means for educating women to accept feminists views, to become willing participate in social activities and to become willing to express themselves creatively.

DISCRIMINATION OF WOMEN - Please see the term ‘Sexism'.

LESBIAN RELATIONS represent relations between women based on love, intimacy, complete trust and support. By denying sexual relations with men, lesbians close the possibility for the men of high spiri-tuality, humanity and ability to understand women.

THE LIBERAL REFORMING FEMINISM suggests to combine harmoniously interests and internal experience of men and women without localizing and defining them into separate males or females formations.

MARGINAL STATUS OF WOMEN is a social status that means a minority, insignificance, pushing aside from a mainstream of the public life that results in almost no presence of women in politics, in top state administration bodies, in public macroeconomic management, public finance administration, manage-ment of a gap between incomes of men and women, in access to property and real estate, etc.


MASCULISM is a society common order when males behavior, males way of thinking and males values prevail and considered to be superior.

MASCULINE is a psychological feature of behavior and way of thinking that corresponds with a male's stereotype in contrast to the female's stereotype.

MATERNALISM is a mother's patronizing (do not confuse it with a matriarchy). This term implies caring relations to the close people and children. An important element in this attitude is pacifism, struggle for disarmament, attitude for keeping peace and for termination of conflicts caused by ethnic or political reasons.

MISOGYNY means a set of ideas and feelings expressing contempt and hatred to all the females. Such a set of ideas and feelings sometimes belong to few men. Among females qualities the following typical qualities are accused: light-mindedness, stagnancy, absence of spiritual interests, cunning, insi-diousness, greed and so forth. Misogyny is an extreme point of some males logic caused directly by a reigning patriarchy everywhere and males sexism.

MISANDRY is similarly subjective and disgusting in its aggression phenomenon as misogyny. Almost the same set (see above in the Misogyny term) of negative qualities, but only attributed to males from few females.

NEOFEMINISM is a second wave of a women's movement in the U.S.A. and Western Europe. The main motto of the neofeminism is «equality in distinction» because a full equality of men and women elimi-nates not only physical differences between the two groups of people, but also eliminates the spiritual potential by denying the difference and the special way of female attitudes and female creativity.

In the neofeminism movement «equal, but different» women defend their rights for individual origi-nality, independence and personal uniqueness. That caused diversity in estimations of men and women behaviors and characters, that also caused irreconcilable attitudes towards feminine and masculine stereotypes.

PATERNALISM is a father's patronizing. It is a part of a patriarchy ideology that means: an implicit sub-ordination to the father, an authority of older man and hierarchy relations as «the father-to-children» in a society. The paternalism is a corner stone of internal politics in Central Asia states.

PATRIARCHIC means a type of relations in a society based on domination of men and a subordinate and minor position of women. This type of relations in a society belongs to a patriarchy (domination of men).

SEX defines biological differences between the men and the women.


EQUALITY OF SEXES is a principle of the liberal reformist feminists declared since 1794 in city of Mary, Wallstonecraft and Olympia dе Gouge. An actual equality of sexes existed nowhere and never. Achieving a legal equality of sexes was done in several stages. The first stage was SUFFRAGISM (see the relevant term). Till now there are several countries in the world where the legal equality of sexes is absent. The motto "equality of sexes" was a distinguished feature of the first stage of feminism (it lasted till the end of the 1920s).


GENDER EQUALITY (EQUALITY OF MEN AND WOMEN) is a process of fair treatment to women and men. For maintaining fairness it is often necessary to take measures for correcting historical and social cir-cumstances which have affected differences in roles of the man and the woman. A main principle of the gender equality is creating equal conditions for women and men. This equality leads to equality of rights.


GENDER EQUALITY (EQUALITY OF MEN AND WOMEN) is a principle of equal rights, equal status and mutual respect between men and women. Gender equality implies that women and men are placed in identical conditions for executing all their human rights, and women and men possess sufficient potential for making their contributions into national, political, economic, social and cultural development. The Gender Equality represents similar points given by a society to both similar and different features and qualities of the man and the woman, and also sets of multiple roles which they play in a society.

RADICAL FEMINISM is a movement in the American and European feminism appeared in late 1960s. The Radical feminism states that since the first kind of exploitation in the history of the mankind was a sexual exploitation of women, hence, the equality of sexes is impossible without a liquidation of the women exploitation. The radical feminism's motto is ‘Women should take reproduction means in their hands'. The Radical feminism places a crucial importance upon sexuality issues. The extreme point (a maximalism) in fighting for independence in the own lives of women often leads to suggestions of a full isolation, creation of female collectives, female communities, female language, female culture, and female intimate experiences.

THE REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS. According to the Program of Actions accepted at Cairo International Con-ference on Population and Development (in 1994) the Reproductive rights represent «a fundamental right of a married couple or an individual to freely and responsibly decide upon quantity, place and time for giving birth to their/his/her children/child, and also a right to use a relevant information and means for regulation of births, and a right to have an access to a high quality standard of sexual and reproductive health. The reproductive rights include also a right of making decisions upon reproductive behavior of a couple or an individual himself/herself/theirselves without any discrimination, compulsion or crime as it is worded in the documents on human rights».


A FREE WOMAN is a feminism ideal in a broader sense. This term implies a woman free from any com-pulsion, moral pressure and/or legislative restrictions regarding her image and/or lifestyle, regarding her choice of vital values and ways of realizing of her spiritual and/or physical potential.
«The free woman» does not mean a lonely woman. She may have or not to have her partner, her friend or her husband. The term of «The free woman» does not necessarily assume a complete libe-ration, including sexual liberation as it usually is understood in an ordinary life under this term. A Free-dom is an implicit feeling /mood (inwardness) of the individual and the individual's spiritual indepen-dence from resource restrictions or other restrictions.

The well-known types of free women are: George Sand, Aisedora Duncan, Marina Tsvetaeva, Vir-ginia Wolf, Simona de Bovoir, Alexandra Kollontai and other women.

SEXISM is a discrimination of people on the basis of sex. This term was developed similar to terms of Racism (discrimination on the basis of race) and Agism (an infringement of rights of the elderly). This term of Sexism was introduced by Kirsten Amundsen, American feminist and Political scientist in her book «The Silent Majority. Women and the American Democracy» (1971).

SEXIST STEREOTYPES OF PUBLIC CONSCIOUSNESS represent stereotypes on inequality of sexes. After arising from the depth of an ordinary public consciousness, these stereotypes are reproduced and repeatedly supported by the press, mass media, literature and system of education. These stereotypes contain as a rule malevolent, distorting or humiliating believes and images regarding the women, for example: a deliberate use of female sexuality in advertising; a limitation of the woman set of roles to three functions -- the wife, the mother, the housewife; an abuse if the term of prostitution, etc. On the other hand, an ideal of supernatural masculine courage, unconditional aspiration to success, sub-ordination of a woman is being spread around.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT is behavior of a man humiliating a woman's dignity and honor by making outright sexual hints, offers, statements or sneers to her. It can be picking up in the street, in public places or at work from her male colleagues. Sexual harassment from a chief is an especially hard case for a woman, because the woman's career is often depends on her consent to have a sex with him. Ways to deal with the sexual harassment: making the case public, reference to the court, skillful flirting with keeping dignity and self-respect, etc.


SEXUAL RIGHTS are human rights to decide on when, with whom and how he/she wishes to express his/her sexuality. This term was not included into United Nations documents, but this term means a variety of set fundamental human rights, including the right for sexual relations free from compulsion and/or violence.

SUFFRAGISM represents a struggle of women for women election rights in the U.S.A., Russia and many countries in Europe in 19th century and in the beginning of 20th century. As a result of the movement the women attained rights to elect and be elected into a legislature, rights to manage their property, right to receive a property and children in case of divorce, opportunities to work as scientists and researchers or be engaged in public life activities, state activities, political activities, etc.

FEMINISM is women's movement supporting women's equality with men in all spheres of life.

THE FEMINIST (FEMALE) is a woman supporting ideas of feminism or having a feministic style of a life (equality in distinction) or being independent in her creativity, creating an independent female culture which is not copying those of the man's.

THE FEMINIST (MALE) is a rare type of the men which recognize and support the women claims to be equal with the men in their rights and responsibilities in their lives, in a society life and in the mankind as a whole.

FEMOCRACY is females bureaucracy in state bodies. It is common for a number of European coun-tries with a high level of women participation in the state affairs. Femocracy represents a compromise of feminism with a state ideology.

ECOFEMINISM represents the combining ecology with feminism and merging the ideas of improving a society by liberation of a dozing potential of the women and ideas of environment protection. A general original principle of feminism and ecology: both the nature and the women have been equally op-pressed by the men who are subjugators, aggressors and consumers.

EMANCIPATION means freeing the women from spiritual dependence on males and, thus, attaining legal independence and freedom, economic independence and freedom, moral independence and freedom and cultural independence and freedom. The term of emancipation has appeared at the time of the Great French Revolution and has been spread out widely in Europe, the U.S.A. and Russia since the 19th century.

HERSTORY (the term is comprised from English words ‘Her' that means ‘her' and ‘Stоry' that means ‘a history, a story') represents a female history. The word is opposed to a usual word ‘History' which either by chance or due to other reasons is comprised from the words ‘His' and ‘Story' which may mean ‘His story'. Someone will tell that all this explanation is just a set of verbal sounds by chance that was not caused by the women life in reality. To describe this phenomenon a special definition was developed -‘ the Genderlect' that is feminists' jargon. Although such revolutionary feminists circle is quite small, they sincerely believe that... at the beginning there was a Word. And this word was the Woman.



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