This survey of femininity over the last hundred years has revealed very significant shifts in female identity. Much of this has been positive. Many of the goals of nineteenth-century feminism are now accepted features of our society.1 Sexual segregation has been dramatically reduced. Almost all the formal barriers to gender equality have been removed and women enjoy full citizenship. Women’s right to employment and educational opportunities is taken for granted. In education, the performance of girls is surpassing that of boys at almost every stage. Women have made inroads into many previously all-male occupations. Women’s average earnings in relation to men have risen from about 40 per cent to 80 per cent. These and other gains have led to allegations that gender equality has arrived and that there is no longer any need for a feminist movement.
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