French society has changed dramatically over the last two centuries. The eighteenth-century world of horse-drawn carts, village isolation and widespread illiteracy is barely recognisable in the current world of the TGV, urban density and the internet. From this perspective, a sense of ‘progress’ in considering the changes in women’s lives over that period is inevitable. Yet this does not mean that the history of French women since 1789 fits a Whiggish model of constant improvement. The dominant impression is instead one of slow and fitful transition, in which change in women’s lives has frequently been contested (by women, as well as by men) and often perceived as negative.
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- Conclusion: Equality and ‘Difference’ — Women’s Lives from the Eighteenth to the Twenty-first Century
Susan K. Foley
- Macmillan Education UK
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