On this date in 1791, Olympe de Gouges published the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen, one of the first tracts to champion women’s rights: “Woman is born free and remains the equal of man in rights.”
We would do well to remember, with Jonathan Israel in Revolutionary Ideas: An Intellectual History of the French Revolution from The Rights of Man to Robespierre (2014), that
“‘[w]oman be a citoyenne!’ within the French Revolution … remained exclusively the call of la philosophie and republican philosophisme. It was not promoted by liberal monarchism, Marat’s populism, or any other revolutionary political, cultural, or social movement. Backed by Condorcet, Bonneville, Brissot, Villette, and the Revolution’s leading women—Gouges, Palm, and Sophie Condorcet—an argued, developed, politically organized feminism that conquered a narrow but real enclave in the public sphere was forged for the first time in human history.”
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“Olympe de Gouges (7 May 1748 – 3 November 1793), born Marie Gouze, was a French playwright and political activist whose feminist and abolitionist writings reached a large audience.
She began her career as a playwright in the early 1780s. As political tension arose in France, Olympe de Gouges became increasingly politically engaged. She became an outspoken advocate against the slave trade in the French colonies in 1788. At the same time, she began writing political pamphlets. Today she is perhaps best known as an early feminist who demanded that French women be given the same rights as French men. In her Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen (1791), she challenged the practice of male authority and the notion of male-female inequality. She was executed by guillotine during the Reign of Terror (1793–1794) for attacking the regime of the Revolutionary government and for her association with the Girondists. [….]
Gouges’ Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen had been widely reproduced and influenced the writings of women's advocates in the Atlantic world. One year after its publication, in 1792, the keen observer of the French Revolution, Mary Wollstonecraft, published Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Writings on women and their lack of rights became widely available. The experience of French women during the revolution entered the collective consciousness.” [….] (From her Wikipedia entry)
See too this site on Gouges maintained by Clarissa Palmer which has, among other things, English translations of her French texts.