In fact that women must be considered 'not men' and hence not deserving of the rights and the power of men is where the theories of gender actually begin. And this is a tendency across religion, class and nationality. What is shocking is the extent of this historical awareness across borders and races and cultures. From ancient European cultures to the new economies of the twenty-first century, the unilateral devotion of men to keep women disenfranchised is unique and at the same time appalling. There is no culture/country, except a few extant tribal communities where matriarchy prevails, that is not guilty of exploiting and suppressing the other ( an inevitably female) gender. It can be safely concluded that across historical time and geographical borders if there is one thing that has bound cultures and tradition it is the way all of them have been found wanting in their treatment of women.
"The term 'feminism' has many different uses and its meanings are often contested. For example, some writers use the term 'feminism' to refer to a historically specific political movement in the US and Europe; other writers use it to refer to the belief that there are injustices against women, though there is no consensus on the exact list of these injustices. Although the term "feminism" has a history in English linked with women's activism from the late 19th century to the present, it is useful to distinguish feminist ideas or beliefs from feminist political movements, for even in periods where there has been no significant political activism around women's subordination, individuals have been concerned with and theorized about justice for women. So, for example, it makes sense to ask whether Plato was a feminist, given his view that women should be trained to rule (Republic, Book V), even though he was an exception in his historical context.1
So in that sense the rise of feminism as an organized movement is only in keeping with the historical materialism of a gendered world. In other words, Feminism was an historical inevitability. What modern feminism has actually done is to trace the theories of gender, back to their origins, put them into context and understand the larger design that has helped disseminate the theory of the women as inferior. This design is called patriarchy which, to put it very simply, means a prevalent worldview that unquestioningly puts man at a superior potion vis--vis women. Its so prevalent that is was almost considered natural and hence in some conservative schools of thought, with divine sanction. What feminism has successfully