One of the best examples of how struggle for change can bring about real and lasting changes in society is the great improvements in women’s status, rights and quality of life that the struggle for women’s liberation has achieved in many countries around the globe. Without this struggle (which I’ll call feminism though not all those fighting against women’s subordination would have identified as feminist), women clearly would not have made the huge gains we have made.
Historically, the struggle for women’s emancipation was evident within anarchist and other socialist movements. However, as a whole these movements have tended to have a somewhat ambiguous relationship with women’s liberation and the broader feminist struggle.
Although central to anarchism has always been an emphasis on the abolition of all hierarchies of power, anarchism has its roots in class struggle, in the struggle to overthrow capitalism, with its defining aim being the creation of a classless society. Because women’s oppression is not so intimately tied to capitalism as class struggle, women’s liberation has historically been seen, and to a large extent continues to be seen, as a secondary goal to the creation of a classless society, not as important nor as fundamental as class struggle.