gouges


Author and political activist Olympe de Gouges (1748 – 1793) wrote plays and political pamphlets. She is most known for her own version of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen from 1789. This declaration was explicitly about men only.

For example, Article 1 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen says:

“Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions can be founded only on the common good.”

Olympe thought it was time to work on equality between men and women. In 1791, she published the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen:



Art. Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen
1 Woman is born free and remains the equal of man in rights. Social distinctions can only be founded on a common utility.
2 The purpose of all political organisations must be the protection of the natural and imprescriptible rights of Woman and Man: these rights are liberty, property, security and above all the right to resist oppression.
3 The principle of sovereignty is vested primarily in the Nation, which is but the union of Woman and Man: no body, no individual, can exercise authority that does not explicitly emanate from it.
4 Liberty and justice exist to render unto others what is theirs; therefore the only limit to the exercise of the natural rights of woman is the perpetual tyranny that man opposes to it: these limits must be reformed by the laws of nature and reason.
5 The laws of nature and reason forbid all acts that are harmful to society: anything not forbidden by these wise and divine laws must be allowed and no one can be constrained to do what the laws do not demand.
6 The law must embody the will of the majority; all Female and Male citizens must contribute personally, or through their representatives, to its development; it must be the same for one and all: all Female and all Male citizens, being equal in law, must be equally entitled to all public honours, positions and employment according to their capacities and with no other distinctions than those based solely on talent and virtue.
7 No woman may be exempt; she must be accused, arrested and imprisoned according to the law. Women, like men, will obey this rigorous law.
8 The law must only establish punishments that are strictly necessary, and none can be punished other than by a law established and promulgated prior to the offence, and legally applied to women.
9 The law will rigorously pursue any woman found to be guilty.
10 None must be disquieted for their opinions however fundamental: woman is entitled to mount the scaffold; she must be equally entitled to mount the rostra so long as her manifestos do not disturb the public order according to the law.
11 The free expression of thoughts and opinions is one of the most precious rights of woman given that this liberty ensures the legitimacy of fathers and their children. Any Female citizen can therefore freely declare ‘I am the mother of your child’ without a barbarous prejudice forcing them to hide the truth, unless in response to the abuse of this freedom in cases determined by the law.
12 Guaranteeing the rights of woman and the female citizen will be a great benefit: this guarantee must be instituted for the good of all and not just to benefit those individuals to whom it is entrusted.
13 Women and men are to contribute equally to the upkeep of the forces of law and order and to the costs of administration: woman shares all the labour, all the hard tasks; she should therefore have an equal share of positions, employment, responsibilities, honours and professions.
14 Female and male citizens have a right to decide for themselves, or through their representatives, the necessity of public contribution. Female citizens can only subscribe to it if they are allowed an equal share not only of wealth but also of public administration and in determining the amount, assessment, collection and duration of the tax.
15 The collective of women, joined to that of men for the purposes of taxation, has the right to demand of any public agent an account of its administration.
16 No society can have a constitution if rights are not guaranteed, or the separation of powers not determined; the constitution is worthless if the majority that make up the Nation has not participated in its redaction.
17 Property belongs to both sexes, united or separated; for each it is an inviolable and sacred right; no one can be deprived of a true natural heritage unless a general necessity, legally verified, obviously requires it and on condition of a fair indemnity agreed in advance.


guillotineThings ended badly for Olympe. Despite the promising words of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen, forty thousand men and women ended up on the guillotine between 1789 and 1799. 

Olympe de Gouges wrote in a pamphlet that Louis XVI had failed as a king, but was not a bad person. This cost Olympe her life. She was executed in 1793. 

She and other women were mocked as well: 

“The man-woman, the shameless Olympe de Gouges, who was the first to set up women's societies, who abandoned the cares of her household, who wanted to involve herself in politics and commit crimes. All these immoral individuals have been cut down by the avenging steel of the law. And you, would you follow their example? No! You will feel that you are only interesting and respectable when you are what nature designed you to be. We want women to be respected and so we will force them to respect themselves.”

Question
1) Olympe de Gouges translated the articles from the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen to a feminine form, but she also added some things. Which article(s) is/are specifically about the rights of women, which you will not find in the version for men?
vorigestapvolgendestap