(November 25 is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and kicks off 16 days of activism to end violence against women. This post was written especially for the Bloggers Unite event in support of the UN initiative. )
It's no coincidence that second wave feminism and the civil rights movement of the sixties and seventies developed at a time when the nuture side of the nature/nuture equation was predominant. Both movements fostered the development of people according to their abilities, strengths, and dreams, rather than according to a rigidly essentialist view. Although the road was not without setbacks, both from within and from without, in the West we are in a place now where gender and race are somewhat less restrictive.