Reason, Religion and Revolution Women have always protested against their oppression in some way, and individual writers and thinkers throughout the ages have often devoted their attention to women's plight; but it was only in the nineteenth century that women began themselves to combine in organisations expressly created in order to fight for the emancipation of the female sex as a whole. The origins of this historically novel development lay in a conjuncture of historical forces operating at three different levels - intellectual, economic and social, and political. These three levels were of course interrelated, but it is convenient for the purpose of analysis to separate them from one another. In order to grasp the nature of the social, economic and political developments which lay behind the emergence of organised feminism, it is first necessary to understand what feminists themselves wanted, and how they justified their demands.