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Article Title

What Is to Be Done

Authors

Kate Millett

Abstract

Since its existence, the feminist movement has fought for equal rights for women, and, in so doing, it has challenged the oldest and most fundamental social scheme in history-patriarchy. Patriarchy is the rule of males over females in all departments of human life, and it is based on custom, belief, law, and ultimately on force. Although the American feminist movement made significant progress in its early years, it has struggled in recent years to accomplish many of its goals. Millett notes that the American feminist movement now stands stalemated, on the defensive, and trying desperately to hold on to the gains it has made. Millett argues that the American feminist movement still can bring about the last days of patriarchy by aligning itself with the international feminist movement. There, feminists have brought about great change by ratifying documents such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. This document, which is still unratified by the United States, is set up with mechanisms that allow nations to bring about sexual equality. Because it challenges patriarchy generally and the American right wing in particular, Millett argues, the Convention has been kept forcibly out of public discussion in the United States. Paradoxically, its obscurity testifies to its power.

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