Feminism is a philosophy which argues for equal treatment and responsibilities for men and women, and boys and girls.
Roots of the movement in the United States and the United Kingdom include the Women's Suffrage movement of the early 1900's and the Women's Liberation (or "Second Wave Feminist") movement of the 1960's and 1970's.
An Equal Rights Amendment was proposed in the US in 1972, but was not ratified. Opponents of the amendment cited the following consequences: making girls subject to the military draft; the integration of single-sex schools; the possible recognition of homosexual marriage; and the revocation of laws that protect women in dangerous jobs, like factory or mining work.
The feminist movement in the West evolved in the 1980s with the rise of Post-Feminism which stresses that women have many rights that go unrecognized in everyday life, often by women themselves, and in the American legal structure. Most members of the feminist movement support reproductive rights currently enshrined in American law, including the legal right to abortion. This stance is opposed by many conservatives, leading political commentator Rush Limbaugh to coin the term "Femi-nazis" to refer to feminist supporters of abortion rights. As of April 2007, women in the US have a legal right to abortion, with limitations in some cases. According to a recent poll, 16% of the American public favor abortion being legal in all cases, and 39% favor abortion being legal in most cases. 31% feel that abortion should be illegal in most cases and 12% believe it should be illegal in all cases. 2% are unsure on the issue. 
Second Wave Feminism has made a resurgence in 1990s and early years of 21st century as the movement is spreading internationally in Asia and the Middle East. During the administration of Bill Clinton these latter-day feminists overlooked President Clinton's apparently womanizing behavior in order to focus upon his attempts to procure federal funding for several of their causes.
The English novelist and critic Rebecca West said:
"I myself have never been able to find out what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute."
The televangelist Pat Robertson said:
"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians."
- The Feminist eZine Archive of articles about Feminist History.
- Gloria Steinem and the CIA, The New York Times, February 21, 1967.
- Inside the CIA with Gloria Steinem, Nancy Borman, The Village Voice.