Feminism: a concept analysis


  • Helen Therese Allan RGN BSc PGDE

    1. Nurse Teacher, Bloomsbury College of Nursing and Midwifery, 1-4 North Crescent, Chenies Street, London WC1E 7ER, England
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The purpose of this paper is to analyse the concept of feminism in order to clarify a sociological concept for its use in nursing theory and practice This analysis is earned out using the Walker & Avant (1988) model It includes a literature review, an overview of the uses of the concept drawn from the literature, the defining attributes and the justification of their choice, the cases to demonstrate the concept, and the concept criteria The concept was chosen out of an interest in developing a feminist nursing theory and desire to enhance nursing practice The literature search proved most fruitful in the sociological literature The nursing sources were fewer and concerned with practice rather than articulating any feminist nursing theory Many of these sources were sociologists and nurses The concept of feminism was denned as the concern with gender equality and the promotion of equal rights for men and woman, the expression of these concerns through theory or action, and the valuing of individuals for their contributions to society rather than their biological or sexual characteristics or roles Although the concept of feminism was defined and analysed within the model suggested by Walker & Avant, the author found that the concept became oversimplified, losing much of the richness of the literature The author felt that, for any development of theory or practice, this analysis would have to be expanded It is argued that their model is too restrictive as it is based on positivist philosophy which seeks to establish divisions where, in fact, there is a blurring of meaning Contrary to Walker & Avant, it is argued that if concepts overlap this does not necessarily diminish the potential usefulness of the concept in theory or practice