Around 1900 the courses of women's lives were relatively predetermined: marrying, having a child, caring for a family. The women's movement came into being out of dissatisfaction with the limited political and social possibilities for women. The members of this movement were called feminists. Due to the massive size of the women's movement around 1900, it is referred to as the first feminist wave.
The women's movement was successful; a growing number of women were able to receive an education, and women's suffrage was established in 1919. From that moment on, men and women were formally equal. In practice however, women's lives remained determined by marriage and motherhood. In the late 1960s, feminists launched a second massive campaign. This movement is referred to as the second feminist wave.
It became clear in the course of the 1970s that the interests of several groups of women diverged: lesbian women had other interests than heterosexual women, black women had problems that were different in part from those of white women. These different groups were focused on various different action themes.