Women movement is a totality of women organizations with registered or un-registered membership, which actively operate in society to meet interests of different social groups of women and to correct the state policy with ultimate view to obtain gender equality in different spheres of public life.
The modern definition of women movement has its prehistory. At the close of XIX century- in the beginning of XX century this term was used in Russia in wide and narrow meanings. In the wide meaning it meant participation of Russian women in liberation movement and in the narrow one it meant organizing of women in un-ions and societies to obtain equal civil and political rights with men, variety of women public structures in opposition to the state institutions (see works of V. M. Khvostov, E. N. Schepkina, I. Novak etc). A. N. Shabanova, one of the leaders of women liberal democratic movement of the beginning of XX century, interpreted women movement as "a stirring activity of women in self-organizing in unions, so-cieties and club to struggle for their rights". So initially, in working out the notion of "women movement" it was meant that the movement should orient its work to over-come the obstacles made by power structures and by the society in the whole.
Followers of the Marxist concept of solving women question of the beginning of the XX century considered above mentioned social phenomena from position of social classes and marked out two notions: bourgeois and proletarian women move-ments. The bourgeois women movement meant activity of women organizations, uniting representatives of the privileged society groups and aimed at obtaining politi-cal rights. The proletarian women movement was considered as a women part of the workers movement without its own infrastructure (see works of A. M. Kollontay, I. F. Armand).
In historical scientific literature of the Soviet period the most characteristic feature in definition of the women movement also was belonging of its participants to the social classes (see works of S. N. Serditova and others).
From the end of seventies a new tendency was formed - to avoid class criteria as a leading one in working out of notions. In the period of 1860-1917 the women movement was interpreted as variety of women organizations carrying out their ac-tivity to obtain equal rights with men in all spheres of social life (see works of G. A. Tishkin, E. A. Pavluchenko, S. G. Ayvazova and others).
The modern women movement is considered by domestic scientists as totality of women initiatives, aimed at protection of interests of women from different social groups and at overcoming gender asymmetry (see works of S. G. Ayvazova, E. V. Kochkina, E. F. Lakhova, T. A. Melnikova, A. Temkina and others).
Taking into account opinion of our colleagues, we propose to include into definition of "women movement": first of all, its variety, secondly, its specific fea-ture as alternative substructure, recognizing availability of women discrimination and presence of their specific interests, which should be protected. We proceed from the assumption that women movement should include women organizations, which in this historical period possess a certain portion of opposition and resistance to the power structures. It distinguishes women movement from women unions intended for mutual spending of time (dress making courses) or aimed at support of political course of the ruling party (women councils of the Soviet time).
Within the limits of women movement different currents and schools can exist; they may have their own system of ideas, which forms ideology, sets something as its objects, works out vision of the future, synthesizes specific interests from different social groups of women in a certain historical period. For example, in the beginning of the XX century in Russia women movement was distinguished as liberal demo-cratic, proletarian and national patriotic ones. In modern women movement we can also tell apart liberal, social democratic, communist, nationalist, national patriotic, religious currents, which differ in their program objects (in detail see works of T. A. Melnikova).
Functions of women movement can include functions of integration and ex-pression of variety of interests of different women groups, function of political so-cialization, social and legal protection, support and self-support, enlightenment, ideological and organizational functions.
Women's movement (English)
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© O. A. Khasbulatova
*from Dictionary of Gender Terms / Ed. by A. A. Denisova / Regional public organization "East - West: Women Innovation Projects", M.: Information XXI century, 2002. 256 p.