Declaration of the Rights of Woman, 1791
Written by Olympe De Gouges, 1791
"[Olympe] De Gouges was a butcher's daughter ... who wrote several plays and a number of pamphlets on the coming Estates General. In this work [Les Droits de la Femme] de Gouges states that the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen is not being applied to women. She implies the vote for women, demands a national assembly of women, stresses that men must yield rights to women, and emphasizes women's education."--Darline Gay Levy, Harriet Branson Applewhite, and Mary Durham Johnson, eds., Women in Revolutionary Paris, 1789-1795 (Urbana, University of Illinois Press, 1980), p. 87.
Note: De Gouges's devotion to the cause of women's rights led to her being charged with treason under the rule of the National Convention. She was arrested, tried, and later, in November of 1793, executed by the guillotine.
The Rights of Woman
Man, are you capable of being just? It is a woman who poses the question; you will not deprive her of that right at least. Tell me, what gives you sovereign empire to opress my sex? Your strength? Your talents? Observe the Creator in his wisdom; survey in all her grandeur that nature with whom you seem to want to be in harmony, and give me, if you dare, an exampl of this tyrannical empire. Go back to animals, consult the elements, study plants, finally glance at all the modifications of organic matter, and surrender to the evidence when I offer you the menas; search, probe, and distinguish, if you can, the sexes in the administration of nature. Everywhere you will find them mingled; everywhere they cooperate in harmonious tpgetherness in this immortal masterpiece.
Man alone has raised his exceptional circumstances to a principle. Bizarre, blind, bloated with science and degenerated--in a century of enlightenment and wisdom--into the crassest ignorance, he wants to command as a despot a sex which is in full possession of its intellectual faculties; he...