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History, Politics & Society
American Revolution
French Revolution
Declaration of Independence

What is the main point of Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen?

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March 30, 2010 3:24PM

The main point of the Declaration of Rights of Woman and Female Citizen, written by Olympe de Gouges in 1791, was to protest the practice of male-female inequality and male authority. By adding the word "woman" in her document to many of the clauses in the original Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen and addressing the laws that excluded women from voting and holding office, the Declaration of Rights of Woman and Female Citizen demanded that women also be regarded not merely as mothers, wives, and sisters, but also as citizens. This illustrates that Gouges and the Declaration of Rights of Woman and Female Citizen was ahead of their time as the prevailing view on woman was Rousseau's notion that men and women should be separated into distinct gender spheres. The Declaration of Rights of Woman and Female Citizen also illustrates and created awareness about how a structure of universal civic expectations was created by the listing of rights in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, even for those it did not cover. By establishing a set of values, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen provided criteria for liberty. Thus, people who were not given all these liberties could demand to know why and claim that until they also enjoyed these freedoms, the French revolution of 1789 was incomplete.