Women 's Rights During The French Revolution Essay

Women 's Rights During The French Revolution Essay

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Before and during the French Revolution, women petitioned to the King and the National Assembly and even brought the royal family to the capital. Also, they took up causes in the demonstrations, protests, and bread riots. Despite these facts, they were treated as “passive” citizens and not granted rights as men did. The Revolution was based on the idea of equality and better society, but it did not extend to women. All women received from the Revolution were the law that allowed them to divorce their husbands in 1792. However, most women were not capable of supporting themselves economically, not without the demanded rights and educations that the government denied to provide to them. In 18th century, only some men thought that the men and women should have equality, and there were many intelligent and brave women who spoke out to demand the women’s rights in society and politics, but their efforts were not successfully brought out.
Women in general were thought to be physically weaker than men. And they were defined by their sex and marriage. Men did not think that women would have the intellectual capacity to handle political issues. So they set women’s role in the “private sphere of the home.” (Hunt 11) Jean-Jacque Rousseau, a philosopher/writer, had a strong opinion on women’s role. In his book, Emile, he describes women as “passive and weak.” And he said that a way for women to serve the society is to be good mothers and wives by breastfeeding and educating children and by pleasing the men. Trapped in these traditional roles, women were disrespected and denied from political sphere.
In 1789, women played a major role in a protest known as October Days. Due to the high price of bread and food shortage, women, who were respo...


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...had come to an end. Most feminists were arrested and executed, or fled the country. The National Convention dismissed women’s clubs and associations. There were not many of them left to fight women’s rights anymore. Although women showed clearly their ability to work with men and how effective they could be in political matters through the movements and demonstrations, men insisted on denying the women’s rights and the treatment they deserved. Even though the efforts of those feminists such as Condorcet, D’Aelder, and Olympe de Gouges could not overcome the men’s belief in women’s traditional roles and it is true that women did not succeed on achieving their ultimate goal, you cannot ignore the influence they had on the society. Those women of the Revolution and the movements they engaged in had a certain impact on the feminism throughout the centuries.














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