Olympe de Gouges was the most important fighter for women's rights you've never heard of. An activist and writer in revolutionary Paris, she published 'The Declaration of the Rights of Women' in 1791, and was beheaded two years later, her articulate demands for equality proving too much for their time.
Over one hundred and fifty years later, the key statements of her declaration were internationally endorsed by the United Nations in its Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, which in turn went on to be legally recognized by nearly every country in the world.
This volume presents both of these key texts along with enlightening and inspiring commentary from a host of powerful women, from Virginia Woolf to Hillary Clinton.
Olympe de Gouges (1748-93) was a French playwright, activist and feminist whose powerful polemics against racial and sexual injustice won her a wide audience in the years before and during the French Revolution. Her most vital, The Declaration of the Rights of Women and of the Female Citizen (1791) was written in response to the revolutionary Declaration of the Rights of Man (1789), highlighting its inherent sex bias and addressing key issues of women's rights that it had failed to cover. De Gouges' refusal to conform to revolutionary orthodoxy, and her continuing protests against its injustices, cost her dearly: she was beheaded in Paris in November 1793, at the age of 45. Notorious in her lifetime, and well-known in France, she is one of the most important figures in the history of feminism.