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Women louis aubry in 1765 when she was

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Women in Saudi Arabia will be able to drive in public in June 2018, and Saudi women just recently earned the privilege of attending public sporting events.

These milestones in the fight for women’s rights may seem small, but they would most definitely please activists like Olympe de Gouges and other influential women who are pioneers in the fight for equality. Born Marie Gouze on May 7, 1748 in Montauban, France, Olympe de Gouges was the daughter of a butcher and a housemaid. Marie married Louis Aubry in 1765 when she was only seventeen years old, and then gave birth to a son. After her husband’s death left her a widow with a young child to support in 1766, Marie Aubry changed her name to Olympe de Gouges, left her child “ in the village”, and went to Paris where she would become an outspoken beacon for human rights.

She vowed never to marry again after fleeing to Paris. Beginning in 1789, the French Revolution was a time of civil disruption and distrust in the government. History. com states, “ During this period, French citizens razed and redesigned their country’s political landscape, uprooting centuries-old institutions such as absolute monarchy and the feudal system,” (History. com). This period was a time of bravery and bloodshed, fantastic milestones and fatal guillotine, rebirth and revolution.

One of the most remembered details of the French Revolution occurred between September 5, 1793 until July 27, 1794. “ The Reign of Terror”, as it was called, was when the French government decided to persecute all those that appeared to be against the revolution. The data surrounding this horrific event is blood-chilling: “ at least 300, 000 suspects arrested; 17, 000 officially executed; and perhaps 10, 000 died in prison or without trial” (Britannica. com). Unfortunately, Olympe de Gouges was a victim of this terrible time, but the legacy she left behind will never be forgotten. Olympe de Gouges was a pioneer in the fight for women’s rights, but also fought for equality for all human beings. She left her son in order to speak up for those that could not or would not dare to speak up for themselves. For about two decades, de Gouges layed low, moving from apartment to apartment, met a couple writers of different genres, and even created her own small theater.

In 1784, Olympe de Gouges wrote her first three-act play. After that, de Gouges wrote many more plays that were performed in some of the greatest theaters in France, pamphlets and posters that were displayed all over, and even declarations that defied newer declarations made by the National Assembly. In 1789, the National Assembly released The “ Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen,” and in 1791, Olympe de Gouges released her version of the new laws called “ The Declaration of the Rights of Women and the Female Citizen.” Her declaration would then go on to be a basis for the fight for women’s rights and equality. Although it is easy to think that what Olympe did did not cause much suffering and strife for herself and her work, de Gouges encountered many obstacles and hardships.

Olympe de Gouges was extremely outspoken in a time where all other like-minded people were shunned in silence, scared of being arrested. Olympe was not afraid to stick up for what she believed in during a time in the Revolution better known as the “ Reign of Terror”. Olympe showed an obvious support for democracy, an opinion that was frowned upon by the government.

She was considered to be “ a dangerous agitator” and was arrested on July 20, 1793. On November 2, 1793, de Gouges is tried and condemned to die. The next day, November 3, 1793, Olympe de Gouges is guillotined. Olympe de Gouges is not remembered for looking pretty at home, but rather fleeing home life and kindling the fire of feminism. She is remembered because she fought for the right of all humans, especially those of women and children.

Olympe is also remembered for going outside of the stereotypical gender roles, a reality of her time, by speaking up, even though she would eventually be executed for “‘ having forgotten the virtues that belong to her sex’” (ThoughtCo. com). Seeing what she is remembered for, Olympe de Gouges is a hero for publishing all that she did for women’s rights, she is a warrior for speaking up in a time of women’s silence, and most importantly, she is a leader because she kindled the torch of feminism, the torch that has grown into a wildflower. A self-inspired activist, de Gouges inspires feminists today by her works and actions, even though she was persecuted for all that she had accomplished.

De Gouges was not alone in her fight for women’s rights during the French Revolution. Among her fought Marie Antoinette, Elisabeth Vigee LeBrun, Charlotte Corday, and Mary Wollstonecraft. In the 1700s, the century in which these remarkable women lived, women had virtually no rights.

They were in society to look pretty in the household and to reproduce, dolls in a dollhouse. Was Olympe de Gouges remembered the way she would want to be remembered? Most people do not know of this influential and courageous woman, this woman that started feminism. I do not recall ever reading about her in textbooks, or seeing a biography written about her. If I was de Gouge, I would like to be more well-known to inspire more young girls to go beyond the stereotypical gender roles and to speak out about for what they believe. Yes, her influence did spread throughout France and the world, but her modern influence is nowhere where it should be. On the flip side, because of her, we have a wildfire of feminism, and things like the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women; in 1944, women in France gained the right to vote; and today, women are not suffering in the silence of sexual harassment and abuse, but speaking up more times than not.

Yes, there is still work to be done, but with the same ideals Olympe de Gouges fought for so long ago, we also have to fight for what is right and just for all humans, but most importantly, women. All milestones in the fight for women’s rights, whether they be small or large, are important in the fight for equality. Many influential women have increased the fire of feminism, but Olympe de Gouges must be thanked for kindling the torch. A pioneer in her fight, Olympe de Gouges deserves to be remembered as one of the fiercest warriors in the French Revolution, and one of the feistiest early feminists this world has know.

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