Feminism is the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.

The first wave

The political and social campaign for the equal rights of women reached the shores of the United Kingdom in the 1830s and lasted until the early 1900s. Called the first wave of the feminist movement (sometimes referred to as women's liberation or women’s lib), this activism came fresh off the heels of recent anti-slavery campaigns, something that middle-class women had been a part of within the UK. Using successful techniques from that operation, the movement petitioned and lobbied MPs for political freedom for women. Significant changes were obtained, including the right of married women to own property and the right for some women to vote.

The second wave

As two world wars came and went, with women proving their worth in the war effort, the developed world turned its focus back to the civil rights of the disenfranchised with the American civil rights movement and the second wave of feminism (1960s -1980s). With a push for access to education for women and rights in the workplace, the movement became more intersectional and the campaign for bodily autonomy began. This era saw the introduction of the contraceptive pill and the legalisation of abortion in all areas of the UK bar Northern Ireland.

The formation of Women's Aid groups

During the 1970s, a group called the National Women’s Aid Federation formed. The organisation took over nearly 40 independent refuges and brought them together to create a national network of safe places for abused women across the whole of the UK. In 1974 the federation renamed itself Women’s Aid.

Over the next decade Women’s Aid established the first ever free National Domestic Violence Helpline service and led the charge in campaigning for new laws and policies to protect women and children living with domestic abuse.

In 1978 Women’s Aid separated into national factions creating Welsh Women’s Aid (WWA). The national arms of the federation continued the public campaigns, taking the fight online for the third wave of feminism (1990s - present).  Using the internet to bring information and support to the fingertips of those that need it, third wave feminism has made the movement accessible to all. Feminism now campaigns for full equality including equal pay and reproductive rights for women as well as an end to violence against women.

Working across the whole of Wales, WWA has a membership of 34 local Women’s Aid groups - of which Women’s Aid Rhondda Cynon Taf is one. We provide emergency temporary accommodation, outreach and floating support amongst other specialist support services. Our aim is to end domestic abuse and all forms of violence against women.