In Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center, bell hooks critiques second-wave feminism for its lack of intersectionality. The book argues that feminist writing has tended to focus on the problems of upper- and middle-class white women and has therefore misrepresented the scale and nature of the struggle. Rather than merely facing attitudes of traditional sexism from men, hooks argues, feminists must create a movement which embraces all marginalized groups to combat systemic patriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalism. This activism must focus on women who are nonwhite, poor, or otherwise disadvantaged by society.
Christine L. Williams makes a similar argument in "The Glass Escalator, Revisited: Gender Inequality in Neoliberal Times, SWS Feminist Lecturer." This time, the outdated idea of feminism Williams critiques is her own concept of the "glass escalator." Williams had written that, while women in traditionally male professions hit a glass ceiling when it came to promotion, men in traditionally female professions, such as nursing, enjoyed a glass escalator, which took them to the top. This was based on the sexist assumption that men were better-suited to be leaders.
However, Williams now believes that she failed to address issues such as race, class, and sexuality. In other words, like the second-wave feminists criticized by bell hooks, she was not intersectional in her approach. Both hooks and Williams, therefore, argue that intersectional feminism, which includes and centers marginalized groups, is the only effective response to a patriarchal system. Gender equality must be part of a wider focus on social justice, including equitable treatment for all marginalized people.