Due to its broad and expansive nature, many university degrees will include a discussion of topics related to feminism, including sociology, history, politics, film and media studies, and many more.
Feminism refers to the fight for gender equality, and it promotes concepts of choice, empowerment and dismantling the patriarchy. However, it is not one singular perspective. Instead, it is an umbrella term, which is used to refer to hundreds of differing opinions. These essay questions are all related to the subject of feminism, with reference to the latest 2020/21 trends. It includes thirty top questions from a wide array of different subjects and concerning a variety of topics.
- Feminism 101
- Narrowing the Gap
- Controversial Essay Questions about Feminism
- Beyond the Binary: Deconstructing Gender
- Feminism around the Globe
- Female empowerment
The following essay questions are related to the basics of feminism, including its history, development and theoretical underpinnings.
- Discuss the difference between sex and gender with reference to postmodern feminism.
- How do stereotypical gender roles continue to perpetuate inequality in 21st century Britain?
- Define and discuss the waves of feminism and determine the existence of a possible fourth wave.
- Judith Butler stated that ‘There is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender’. Discuss this quote in reference to the performativity of gender.
- “In almost every professional field, in business and the arts and sciences, women are still treated as second-class citizens.” How has feminism changed society since Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique?
Narrowing the Gap
At the very core of feminism is the belief in equality above all else. Yet despite significant progress being made in the twentieth century, gender inequality remains prevalent in the UK and around the world. Some essay questions related to disadvantage include:
- “As white women ignore their built-in privilege of whiteness and define woman in terms of their own experience alone, then women of Color become “other,” the outsider whose experience and tradition is too “alien” to comprehend.”― Audre Lorde
- With reference to the above quote, how intersectional is feminism in the 21st Century?
- Discuss whether there was an unequal distribution of emotional labour during the COVID 19 pandemic and if so, why?
- Does the gender pay gap exist? Explain the factors behind your argument.
- Women in leadership: Are women fairly represented in senior leadership roles and why?
- With evidence to suggest that 1 in 3 women in the UK will experience domestic violence at some point in their lives, how can governments better address Violence against Women and Girls? Provide a critical analysis of the policy and legislative framework in a country of your choosing.
Controversial Essay Questions about Feminism
Feminist debates can be controversial as the perspective often shines a light on topics that may be considered to be sensitive. Debates surrounding topics such as abortion and sex are often emotive and sensitive, but
- Should abortion be classed as a universal human right?
- Is feminism just for women? Provide a critical analysis regarding whether there is a continued need for feminism in modern society and how the patriarchy negatively impacts on the lives of men.
- Discuss the concept of Trans- Exclusionary Radical Feminists or ‘Terfs’ and how an increase in support for so-called ‘gender critical’ feminism could change the future of feminism.
- Should sex and relationships education be compulsory and why?
- How are feminists and the feminist perspective represented in the media?
Beyond the Binary: Deconstructing Gender
Gender roles are believed to be embedded in our society and they refer to the stereotypical beliefs pertaining to what is expected based on a person’s gender. These questions all refer to gender as a contrast and the differences between gender roles and ascribed sex.
- The idea that gender is ‘natural and rooted in biology’ has had ‘profound psychological behavioural and social consequences (West and Zimmerman 1987 p. 128). What are the differences between sex and gender and how is this communicated in British society?
- How are stereotypical gender roles communicated through socialisation and how does this affect children’s development and understanding of their gender identity.
- Discuss the idea of gender as a binary concept.
- Are gender reveal parties inherently transphobic? Discuss feminist views on transgender experiences, with reference to Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists and Intersectional Feminism.
- Communicating gender stereotypes: A discourse analysis to deconstruct the Madonna/ Whore dichotomy in mass media.
Feminism around the Globe
One of the most significant criticisms of the feminist perspective is a focus on women in Western countries that fails to acknowledge the significant disparities related to gender that occur on a global scale. The following questions provide the opportunity to provide critical analysis of the role of feminism in protecting the rights of women and promoting gender equality worldwide.
- Freeing women from oppression or failing to recognise the importance of choice? In 2021, Sri Lanka joined other countries in ‘banning the burka’. Discuss this from a feminist perspective.
- Compare and contrast domestic violence and abuse legislative and policy framework in two countries of your choosing.
- As Scotland becomes the first country to provide free menstruation products to all that need them, should this policy be adopted in your own country? What are the potential barriers to the distribution of free menstrual products?
- How are women in developing countries represented in the globalised media? Exploring the impact of globalisation on women, with a focus on the communication of stereotypes and victimhood by Western media sources.
- How has the world changed? Consider the impact of the Millennium Development Goals and the fight for global gender equality.
Considering how feminism has worked to eradicate the imbalances of power that sustain inequality and recognise the manner in which government, organisations, front line workers, and activists work to empower women from around the world.
- How can we address toxic masculinity using a feminist perspective?
- Should sex work be legal? Discuss with reference to relevant feminist theory.
- How has society changed since the Time Out campaign and #MeToo Movement?
- What are industries doing to increase the number of women studying and working in STEM areas and why is this important?
- Discuss the role of international policy and legislation in supporting female empowerment, including any barriers to its implementation.