The ‘ladies’ who presented this petition to the National Assembly in late 1789 called on the male legislators to end privileges based on sex, consistent with their abolition of other forms of discrimination. They requested the Assembly to confer on women ‘the same liberty, the same advantages, the same rights and the same honours as the masculine sex’.1 The National Assembly and the governments that followed between 1789 and 1799 proved unwilling to do this. Following the coup d’état of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799, the inequality of women was officially inscribed in the new legal code, the Code Napoléon of 1804. Some women embraced the maternal role to which they were now assigned, but French women emerged from the Revolutionary decade with clear legal and political disadvantages compared to men.
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- Introduction: The French Revolution and Gender Politics — Creating a World of Difference
Susan K. Foley
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