Disclaimer: This is by no means comprehensive.The goal is only to givebasic information.Further readings on the topic is highly recommended!
Basic idea:Rebecca West says:"Feminism is the radical notion that women are people." - which means it is a commitment to achieving the equality of the sexes.
Why the feminist movement? “There is a need to address radically the additional layers of discrimination women experience because of class, race, sexuality, disability, and age, and also the heightened impact on women and children of war, poverty and environmental degradation.”
Kinds of Feminism• Liberal Feminism• Radical Feminism• Marxist and Socialist Feminism• Cultural Feminism• Eco-Feminism
Liberal FeminismThis is the variety of feminism that works within the structure of mainstream society to integrate women into that structure. Its roots stretch back to the social contract theory of government instituted by the American Revolution.
Radical FeminismThis term refers to the feminist movement that sprung out of the civil rights and peace movements in 1967-1968. The reason this group gets the "radical" label is that they view the oppression of women as the most fundamental form of oppression, one that cuts across boundaries of race, culture, and economic class. This is a movement intent on social change, change of rather revolutionary proportions, in fact.
Marxist and Socialist Feminism Marxism recognizes that women are oppressed, and attributes the oppression to the capitalist/private property system. Thus they insist that the only way to end the oppression of women is to overthrow the capitalist system. Socialist feminism is the result of Marxism meeting radical feminism.
Cultural FeminismAs radical feminism died out as a movement, cultural feminism got rolling.The difference between the two is quite striking: whereas radical feminism was a movement to transform society, cultural feminism retreated to vanguardism, working instead to build a womens culture. Some of this effort has had some social benefit:rape crisis centers, for example; and of course many cultural feminists have been active in social issues
Eco-FeminismThis branch of feminism is much morespiritual than political or theoretical innature. Its basic tenet is that a patriarchalsociety will exploit its resources withoutregard to long term consequences as adirect result of the attitudes fostered in apatriarchal/hierarchical society. Parallelsare often drawn between societys treatmentof the environment, animals, or resourcesand its treatment of women. In resistingpatriarchal culture, eco-feminists feel thatthey are also resisting plundering anddestroying the Earth.
Sources• Text taken from :http://www.uah.edu/woolf/feminism_kinds.htm• Other refs:http://www.amptoons.com/blog/2005/02/23/what-distinguishes-each-form-of-feminism-from-the-other/http://www.redletterpress.org/feminism101.html