Role of women in the French revolution.

Role of women in the French revolution.

At the time of the French revolution, Women played a substantial role which led to the overall revolution. They participated in some uprisings before, during and after the coup and this involved all the groups like Sans-culottes, peasantry and the bourgeoisie. The evolution started in 1879, and it was the declaration of the rights of man signing, which was brought about by the March to Versailles by women that are considered to be the most significant occurrence that symbolized the end of the evolution. Women were also participating in other activities that led and promoted the revolution either directly or indirectly. These activities included the propagation and promotion of modern ideas through journals and societies as well as pamphlets (Hufton, 2013).

Before the revolution

Before analyzing the role women played during the revolution, we look at the role they played before the revolution. Women had no right for political activities be it voting or even holding political offices before 1879. During this time, women were only considered as passive citizens which meant that they were to remain at home and rely on men for everything (Sherman and Salisbury 27). This was regarding determining what was best for them and what they should or should not have done.

They were considered only to be mothers and good wives. This was also seen in their education as many articles refer to their education as one that consisted of learning on how to be good wives and mothers. Their roles here was only that of bringing up of future citizens.

However, the roles of women from these three groups were not the same. Those from the peasantry and sans-culottes were more concerned with the rising prices of goods and the increase in the cost of living, those from the upper classes were more concerned about their political rights and democratic aspirations.

During the revolution

During this period and due to the rise in the cost of living, women had to work hard to take care of their families and earn a living. However, their wages were far much below that of men, and this led to the rise of protesting and organized political clubs. As the middle and the lower class women were more concerned about working in industries with very low wages, those of the bourgeoisie were engaged in better professions like teaching and writing (Sherman &  Salisbury 34). When these women started taking jobs, they began developing confidence and later led to the direct role in the revolution.

The rising price of bread led to women participation in movements like the march to Versailles and fall of Bastille which led to the declaration of rights being signed. Women at this time say that the cost of maintaining their families was too high for them to afford (Sherman & Salisbury 37). This participation was comprised of the working class women.

The bourgeoisie and the upper-class women participated in the revolution indirectly by writing articles that influenced other women. Among the writers were the Olympe de Gouges and Palm which led the idea of equality with men. In 1972, Leon came up with the argument that women should own a firearm which would help protect the revolution and also would view women as citizens. In 1973, there was the rising of militant feminism activist still led by Leon (“YouTube”). During this time, women called for the reduction of bread price and changing the constitution. When their demands were not heard, they went ahead and started kidnapping officials and sacking shops.

After the revolution

After women pressurized the revolutionary government to improve their conditions, the roles were given to them including the right to vote and stand for a political office, right to education, right to divorce. Their daughters also would not be married against their will, and their wages were made equal to those of men (Hufton, 2013).

Works Cited

Hufton, Olwen. “Women and the Limits of Citizenship in the French Revolution.” 2013.

Sherman, Dennis, and Joyce E. Salisbury. The West in the World: A Mid-Length Narrative History. McGraw-Hill, 2001.

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