Decline of Feminism

August 12, 1999

Articles in a recent issue of World magazine poignantly detail the decline of radical feminism. One author talks about an attempt by NOW (National Organization for Women) President Patricia Ireland to reposition this feminist organization. An ad agency found that along with some positive traits ascribed to NOW were also some very negative ones. Many said these feminists were "unyielding, pushy, abrasive, focused [and] cult-like." Obviously, NOW needs to do some PR work.

But the issue really isn't so much about NOW's public perception as it is about a significant shift in thinking by women. For example, the liberal Center for Gender Equity found that three-quarters of women surveyed say that religion is important to them (up 6 percent from two years ago). Half say that it would be better for politicians to be guided by religious values (up 14 percent since 1993). They also found that 70 percent favor more restrictions on abortion, including 40 percent who think it should be allowed only in cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother. Another 13 percent would not permit it under any circumstances.

Another study found a change in attitudes about career. In 1979 nearly half of working women felt career was as important as being a wife and mother. By 1998 that number dropped to a third of women surveyed.

And what about wage inequity? NOW continues to beat the drum that women earn just 74 cents for every dollar earned by men. But a new book entitled Women's Figures compares apples to apples and concludes that women earn 98.1 cents for every comparable male dollar.

These surveys and statistics suggest that feminist thinking is on the decline, and it's not just because NOW has a PR problem. It's because American women have heard the rhetoric, but they've also looked at the facts and come to different conclusions than these feminist leaders.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.