The Feminist Identity Development Model: Relevant for Young Women Today?

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We explored whether the Downing and Roush model of feminist identity development is relevant for young women today. Two-hundred seventeen older and younger feminists and non-feminists were recruited on a college campus and online in the United States. They completed, online, the Feminist Identity Composite and reported whether they would have endorsed items for each stage more strongly in the past. Qualitative data was collected about prior stage experience. Older feminists scored higher in active commitment, and younger feminists scored higher in revelation. Feminist self-identification did not relate to synthesis scores, and young women high in synthesis did not report much prior stage experience. We postulate that synthesis is a starting point for young women, rather than an ending point.

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