"Feminism" Was Coined By A French Man

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Frenchmen Charles Fourier, who was sometimes described as a socialist utopian thinker, was the man behind the term very well-known today, "feminism." He coined this word in 1837, because he saw the role of women in bourgeois marriage at the time in France as oppressive. However, Fourier was not a true feminist in the way the word functions today. He believed 19th-century women were treated like property, but he did not rally for complete gender equality, seeing as that would not have been consistent with the sex differences he observed. Women in his home country of France were actually among the last to gain the right to vote in Europe-French women couldn't vote until 1945.

Feminism - Words of the World

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Feminism is the belief that women should not be treated in a subordinate or unequal way simply because they are women. 00:01

  2. Women campaigning for different rights in the 1870-80s called themselves "womanists" before the word "feminist" caught on. 03:00

  3. Women in France did not earn the right to vote until 1945. 08:16

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