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More Minerva Than Mars: The French Women's Rights Campaign and The First World War

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More Minerva Than Mars: The French Women's Rights Campaign and The First World War

More Minerva than Mars: The French Women's Rights

Campaign and the First World War

This essay examines the role of French women during and after the First World War based on Steven Hause's article "More Minerva than Mars: The French Women's Rights Campaign and the First World War". He claims that the World War I in many ways set back the French Women's Right Campaign.

During the First World War, many French feminist leaders believed that women would gain right to vote by next elections. Their confidence was based on many changes that were happening during the war and strong feminist movements. Since the most men were on the battlefields, women started entering economy and labour market, gained some legal rights and changed social attitudes by accepting the role of women as necessary. Women contributed to the war by producing munitions, serving as doctors and nurses, clerical workers, majors and etc. All this led them to believe that by the end of the war they would have equal rights as men and be important part of French society.

But, the reality was different. The country had to provide jobs for all those men who fought in the war and therefore dismissed or demoted most of the women. Furthermore, the country was experiencing so called "depopulation" due to the loss of thousands of men in the war and wanted women to bear children and not to work.

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