Yesterday I was a guest on NPR’s Kojo Nnamdi Show here in Washington, where I joined the host and guest Howard Ross to discuss who maintains ownership over the term “feminism.” 

More and more conservative – and by extension Republican – women like Sarah Palin are using the term feminism to describe themselves and their push for a return to constitutionally limited government, individual rights, and free markets.  But as Lori Ziganto writes today at David Horowitz’s NewsReal (h/t Hot Air), “Palin Proves Old School Feminism is Dead.”

Women on the left – like author Jessica Valenti and Slate’s Hanna Rosin – accuse Palin and other women on the right for usurping the phrase, which they believe ought to represent – in short – unlimited abortion rights and a robust, big-government economic agenda.

But at a time when nearly a quarter of women out-earn their spouses, when women earn the majority of bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees, and when women’s purchasing power has exploded, it makes sense that the economy and greater freedom — not reproductive rights — would be a leading concern.

Up until the recent presidential election – and this year’s midterm elections where we’re seeing record numbers of GOP women running for office – the left has controlled the conversation when it comes to feminism.  But with a down economy and a president and congress eager to advance top-down, Keynesian economic policies, growing numbers of women are speaking up.

Being a feminist no longer means you have to view women as victims in need of protection from big government.  And it looks like that just might be the new wave of feminism.