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Viewpoints > Women's rights, are they definitive?

Are the rights acquired by women definitively acquired?

Unfortunately NO ...

Hard won women's rights that are taken for granted by young people today, like the right to vote or for contraception, have been acquired very recently (see below). Abortion is still forbidden and subject to prosecution in certain European community countries (Spain, Portugal, Ireland ...) or countries on the point of adhesion (Poland ...). Still today, the catholic church not only opposes abortion but all forms of contraception.

In 2003, on the occasion of the vote on two laws (the law concerning vehicular violence, the Perben law), the UMP deputy, Jean-Paul Garraud attempted to convince parliament to vote an amendment (abortion by recklessness, inattention, negligence to be considered a misdemeanour) which would have had the effect of giving the fetus a legal status. This amendment, by recognizing the embryo as a person, would have conferred legal rights upon it, allowing the embryo to oppose abortion ...

A decision in January 2004 by the Government Counsel in Iraq repealed the family code in effect since 1959, considered one of the most modern in Muslim countries. The Counsel decided to repeal family-related questions, and thus women's status, given to religious authorities (a surprising backwards step in a country supposedly heading toward democracy and progress under the sponsorship of the United States...).

Women's rights are even more fragile as they are truly and seriously threatened here as well as elsewhere: they must be constantly defended with force, and everyone must be vigilant ... Furthermore, here and elsewhere, there is still a lot of progress to be made ...

Brief history of women's rights

1804 The Civil Code makes women lifetime minors, without any personal rights or rights to their belongings or assets. Women go from the authority of their father to that of their husband.
1861 Julie Daubié is the first French women to obtain a high school diploma (A-levels). She is 37 years old.
1880 Girl's schools are established.
1902 Marie Curie is the first doctor in physics.
1907 Married women can finally have access to and use their wages.
1920 Women can join a trade union without the permission of their husband.
A law forbids access to all information about contraception and criminalizes abortion.
1922 The Senate refuses women the right to vote despite the fact that this right was voted by the deputies in 1919.
1943 A woman, Marie Latour, is condemned to death for having an abortion and executed.
1944 Women acquire the right to vote. In the 1946 legislatives, women are 5 % of the elected deputies (compared to approximately 12 % today).
1949 The feminist reference work, if there is one, Le Deuxième Sexe (the Second Sex) by Simone de Beauvoir is published.
1960 " Happy Maternity " ("La Maternité Heureuse") becomes " French Movement for Family Planning " ("Mouvement Français pour le Planning Familial") and fights in favor of contraception. The association has 10.000 members in 1962, 100.000 in 1966.
1965 A woman can finally exercise a profession and open a bank account without her husband's permission.
1967 The Neuwirth law partially repeals the 1920 law and legalizes contraception which is now authorized.
1970 Parental authority replaces paternal authority. The notion of the head of the family disappears.
The creation of MLF, "Mouvement de Libération des Femmes" (" Women's Liberation Movement ").
1971 343 women having had an abortion sign a manifesto, called the "343 salopes" ("343 bitches").
1972 Marie-Claire, 16 years old, raped by a schoolmate and denounced by her aggressor for abortion, is judged in Bobigny. She is defended by Gisèle Halimi, founder of the movement "Choisir". She is acquitted.
1973 Creation of the "Mouvement de Libération de l'Avortement et de la Contraception" (" Abortion and Contraception Liberation Movement ").
1974 A Secretary of State for Women's Conditions, Françoise Giroud, is appointed for the first time (Françoise Giroud).

The Veil Law (from Simone Veil, Health Minister) authorizes abortion under certain conditions.
The law now allows divorce by mutual consent.

1980 Le Penal Code enlarges the definition of rape and allows associations to file civil complaints.

For the first time, a Minister of Women's Rights is appointed, Yvette Roudy. There hasn't been one since.
Yvette Chassagne is the first woman named as police commissioner.

1986 The Allocation Parentale d'Education ("Parental Education Allocation") is created for families with 3 or more children.
1992 A law on domestic violence and sexual harassment.
1993 The "manifeste des 577" launches the debate on political parity.
2000 Parity law.
2003 A movement of suburban women, "Ni putes ni soumises", (" Not whores, not submissive ") organizes a protest demonstration against the unacceptable situation they live. A second women's demonstration arrives in Paris March 6 2004.
Sources : Michèle RIOT-SARCEY, Histoire du féminisme, éd. La Découverte ; Collectif national pour le droit des femmes ; Sylvie SCHWEITZER, Les femmes ont toujours travaillé, Une histoire du travail des femmes aux XIX et XXèmes siècles, éd. Odile Jacob ; Françoise PICQ, Les années-mouvement, éd. Le Seuil ; citées par Télérama n°2825.
March 2004


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