The Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Citizen


Despite proclaiming that ‘men are born and remain free and equal in rights’, the Déclaration des droits de l'homme made no reference to women, who remained politically subordinate. In response, the playwright and political pamphleteer, Marie Gouze, known as Olympe de Gouges, published this alternative version in 1791, entitled Déclaration des droits de la femme et de la citoyenne (Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Citizen). Gouges followed strictly the language and form of the earlier declaration, but replaced discriminatory language with inclusive concepts, promoting natural equality between the sexes. Because her text was based on the original Déclaration, it retained some echo of Magna Carta: clause 7 stated that women, like men, could be accused, arrested or imprisoned in those cases determined by law. Presciently for Gouge, clause 10 recognised that women were entitled to mount the scaffold but not to address the Tribune. She soon fell prey to her political opponents, and was sent to the guillotine in 1793.

Full title:
Les droits de la femme. A la reine
probably Paris
Olympe de Gouges
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British Library

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