In 1979, a commencement speech at a women’s college was given by Adrienne Rich, who asks the question, "What does a woman need to know?" She believes that the key component to a woman’s growth and knowledge is education, largely the events and histories of women, as well as self-knowledge. Rich found that up until then, there were no women’s colleges that provided young women with the education they needed for survival as a whole person in a world which denies women wholeness. Rich felt as if women as a group were being raided of some of the most important features of their education, as well as their own self identities.
Rich feels that without self-education, women will stand powerless. Many women will get caught up in school, will marry, and have children, forgetting to invest in themselves. Women are empowered by their knowledge and tact. They have the ability to become the independent women. Rich stresses that it is a woman's right to gain knowledge of their heritage and female roots because if denied such an education, she feels that women will become completely helpless. If women want to keep their place in society as well as further it, it will become necessary to gain knowledge of their history as well as have the initiative to want something better. In the second wave of feminism sex and gender were distinguished — the former being biological, and the later a social paradigm that varies culture-to-culture and over time. Sexuality and reproductive rights were central issues, and much of the movement's energy was focused on passing the Equal Rights Amendment to the constitution assuring social equality regardless of sex. This phase drew in women of color seeking sisterhood and solidarity. This feminist agenda to attempted to combine social, sexual, and personal struggles and to see them as intricately linked. Identity feminism, in turn, inspired a new interest in women’s lives and voices, which was at once more observed and...
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