Select Page

Testimony at 1918 Trial

March 1918


I appear before this court charged with a political crime; yet I am denied all political rights. Because I am a woman, I am classified de plano by my country’s laws, far inferior to all the men of France and the colonies. In spite of the intelligence that has been officially recognized only recently, in spite of the certificates and diplomas that were granted me long ago, before the law I am not the equal of an illiterate black from Guadeloupe or the Ivory Coast. For he can participate, by means of the ballot, in directing the affairs of our common country, while I cannot. I am outside the law. The law should be logical and ignore my existence when it comes to punishments, just as it is ignored when it comes to rights . . . .

I am first and foremost a feminist. And it is because of my feminism that I am an enemy of war. . . .

War represents the triumph of brute strength, while feminism can only triumph through moral strength and intellectual values.



Source: Offen, Karen M. Women, the Family, and Freedom: 1880-1950, 1983.