Sunday, October 14, 2012

Jeanne Deroin, "The Mission of Women in the Present and in the Future" (first article) (1849)


The Mission of Women in the Present and in the Future.
(first article.)

The February Revolution, by inscribing on its banner the words Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, has recognized in principle the right of the people and of women.
But many women, and it is the majority, do not know what change the power of their influence would bring to bear on human destinies if they were called to take their proper rank in society.
The majority even keep that thought at bay, as an attack on religion and morals, and as a danger to society; they have been persuaded that they were born to obey, to love, to suffer and to sacrifice themselves, and that they must remain enclosed in the narrow circle of the domestic hearth.
Some few, on the contrary, free themselves from the yoke of these austere principles and openly defy society, which censures them severely; they misunderstand their duties because their rights are misunderstood.
They do not know, in either group, that it is in the name of religion and morality, and in the interest of society, that they must demand their rights.
They do not know that humanity’s salvation depends on the triumph of God’s law, of the rights of the people and those of women.
Our most ardent wish is to make penetrate into all hearts that truth on which rests our whole future.
It is to make women understand that it is for them not only a right but a duty to intervene in these dire struggles, the sad result of oppression and suffering, misery and selfishness.
Above all they must raise themselves above these hatreds of parties and sects which divide men, and teach to all the practice of fraternity.

(Continued in the next issue.)

Source: l’Opinion des femmes, 1 (January 28, 1849): 4.
[Working translation by Shawn P. Wilbur]

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