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Slide 1

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Women and the French Revolution
Olympe de Gouges'
"Déclaration des droits de la femme"…read more

Slide 2

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Revolution discusses rights of l'homme:
Humans in general or just men?! Ambiguous
Women not treated equally
Many women lost rights in revolution,
especially the poor e.g. Single mothers who
would have received church support
French women only had equal legal/political
status since WW2
September 1971
Olympe de Gouges published ­ raised issues
of equality
Still the basis of many central views today…read more

Slide 3

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Issues of women & revolution
Some women were inspired to ask for
equal rights
Those who did were guillotined/silences e.g.
Olympe, not because of their opinions but as
they were women expressing opinions
Female involvement in revolutionary
politics ignored by historians who focus on
`high politics' (men)
Has increased since 70's and 80's ­ more
Female concerns (day to day problems)
were of little interest
Women were addressed as mothers, not…read more

Slide 4

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Feminism in the revolution?
Controversy over whether we can talk
about feminism in the revolution:
Overemphasis on radical women e.g.
Olympe who was considered ahead of her
time and suppressed by authorities
The majority of women stayed silent
Déclaration des droits de la femme had
little influence on contemporary debates:
Has since been looked at again and
important as an example of women's
involvement in the revolution, and the
existence of early feminism.…read more

Slide 5

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Why women were mistreated
Pre 18th century ­ women inferior to men
as bible stated men should run the world
Reconsidered by scientists: women were
different, not inferior
Different role: private vs. public e.g.
Reproduce, be at home
Was believed women were morally better
therefore should raise the children.
Supported by Rousseau ­ celebrated
maternity & believed public was no place for
women as would pervert their minds.
He attacked society for taking women out
the home.…read more

Slide 6

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Women in the ancien regime
Social role allows women into intellectual life
­ privileges based on social class, geography
etc not just gender, so better to be noble
woman than male peasant
Women here had no power but significant
role ­ could influence ideas/action e.g. Salons
Women had private property ­ gave
independence & wealth
Limited to professional life, mostly in the
home e.g. Accounts for family business. Little
education limited women.
The masses:…read more

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