Feminism is both an intellectual commitment and a political movement that seeks justice for women and the end of sexism in all forms.However, there are many different kinds of feminism.
Although there are many different and sometimes conflicting approaches to feminist philosophy, (see "Feminism, approaches to"), it is instructive to begin by asking what, if anything, feminists as a group are committed to.
Considering some of the controversies over what feminism is provides a springboard for seeing how feminist commitments generate a host of philosophical topics, especially as those commitments confront the world as we know it.
Feminism brings many things to philosophy including not only a variety of particular moral and political claims, but ways of asking and answering questions, critiques of mainstream philosophical views and methods, and new topics of inquiry.
Feminist contributions to and interventions in mainstream philosophical debates are covered in entries under "Feminism, interventions".
The references I provide below are only a small sample of the work available on the topics in question; more complete bibliographies are available at the specific topical entries and also at the end of this entry.
In the mid-1800's the term 'feminism' was used to refer to "the qualities of females" , and it was not until after the First International Women's Conference in Paris in 1892 that the term, following the French term féministe, was used regularly in English for a belief in and advocacy of equal rights for women based on the idea of the equality of the sexes.
(Admittedly, the claim that women are disadvantaged with respect to rights and respect is not a "purely descriptive" claim since it plausibly involves an evaluative component.
However, my point here is simply that claims of this sort concern what is the case not what ought to be the case.) Disagreements within feminism can occur with respect to either the descriptive or normative claim, e.g., feminists differ on what would count as justice or injustice for women (what counts as "equality," "oppression," "disadvantage"?
Given the controversies over the term "feminism" and the politics of circumscribing the boundaries of a social movement, it is sometimes tempting to think that there is little point in demanding a definition of the term beyond a set of disjuncts that capture different instances.
However, at the same time it can be both intellectually and politically valuable to have a schematic framework that enables us to map at least some of our points of agreement and disagreement.