Feminism is not a simple or unified philosophy. Many different women (and men) call themselves feminists, and the beliefs of these groups of people vary quite abit. Here's a quick primer on some of the different kinds of feminism.
Liberal feminism is characterized by an individualistic emphasis on equality. According to this philosophy, societyitself does not need a major overhaul, but rather laws need to be changed and opportunities have to be opened up to allow women to become equals in society. To a liberal feminist, evidence ofprogress is seen largely by the numbers of women in positions previous occupied by men, especially powerful positions. In the United States and much of the Western world, liberal feminism is the mostmainstream form of feminism.
Socialist feminism (sometimes known as Marxist feminism) is different than liberal feminism in that it emphasizes that true equality will not be achievedwithout major overhauls within society-- particularly economic overhauls. Socialist feminists argue that there are fundamental inequalities built in to a capitalist society because power and capital aredistributed unevenly. Thus, it's not enough for women to individually work to rise to powerful positions in society; rather, power needs to be redistributed throughout society. Liberal feminists focuson individual empowerment, while socialist feminists focus on collective change and empowerment.
Radical feminism is similar to socialist feminism in that it emphasizes the need fordramatic social change in order to achieve genuine equality for women (and sometimes these two philosophies are grouped together). Radical feminists believe that society is extremely patriarchal, anduntil patriarchy is transformed on all levels, the system will remain unjust. A minority of radical feminists are separatist feminists, who believe that men and women need to maintain separate...