Although intellectuals and activists existed advocating the intelligence, dignity, and intrinsic potential of the female sex during the Enlightenment and epochs prior, true advancements in the acquisition of rights only began to occur as the dawn of the twentieth century broke when impassioned women initiated a battle for suffrage. Well over a century later, it cannot be said that the feminist movement fulfilled its objectives in our society and there is vast progress to be made despite the epic leaps that have been taken through years of toil. In describing this evolution, first, second, and third wave feminism are multidimensional terms that function to make the unique advancements, influences, and impacts of each time period digestible. Analyzing feminism's short history is paramount in absorbing the complexity and urgency of the movement towards equality as well as forming a plan for reaching greater gender inequality in the future.
All key periods of feminist movements share common motives of combating patriarchal norms by bringing to light the unjust subordination of one gender and the various societal effects that stem from this centuries old system of oppression. First-wave feminism had the central motive of giving speech to the voiceless by obtaining women's right to vote with the Nineteenth Amendment. Picketing and hunger strikes were some tactics implemented as women's yearning for equal opportunities was voiced. This was not the most inclusive or progressive movement as it occurred within a period where women were truly second-class citizens without rights to their own children or bodies and racism was abounding. Also described as liberal feminism, the first wave worked within society's constraints to make small advances in integration over time. However, it was appropriate at that moment and sparked calls for reform within marriages and the workplace which have transcended the restrictions of that era.