The practice of being a feminist or believing in feminism is a choice. Men or women can be feminists. The origins of feminism can be traced back to conflict theory within the field of sociology, and historically there have been three waves of feminism during the 20th century. The empowerment of women as a term has to do with women's rights and having access to economic resources and life chances that historically belonged to men.
The constructs of feminism and empowerment of women are related in several ways. Feminism advocates rights for women or any marginalized group discriminated against within society; women's empowerment advocates women's rights, but usually economically and professionally, and focuses on disparities in comparison to the economic and professional situation of men. Both terms advocate social responsibility of the individual, with feminism a part of a larger social construct and social movement recognizing all marginalized groups, especially during the social rights movement of the 1960s; the empowerment of women as a term and construct addresses women's gender roles and their lack of power in society in comparison to men, with a lack of resources or opportunities for women in economics, work, and ownership.