Definition: Oppression is a type of injustice. Oppression is the inequitable use of authority, law, or physical force to prevent others from being free or equal. The verb oppress can mean to keep someone down in a social sense, such as an authoritarian government might do in an oppressive society. It can also mean to mentally burden someone, such as with the psychological weight of an oppressive idea.
Feminists fight against the oppression of women. Women have been unjustly held back from achieving full equality for much of human history in many societies around the world. Feminist theorists of the 1960s and 1970s looked for new ways to analyze this oppression, often concluding that there were both overt and insidious forces in society that oppressed women. These feminists also drew on the work of earlier authors who had analyzed the oppression of women, including Simone de Beauvoir in The Second Sex and Mary Wollstonecraft in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.