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Olympe de Gouges

Olympe de Gouges (1748-93) was a French playwright, activist and feminist whose powerful polemics against racial and sexual injustice won her a wide audience in the years before and during the French Revolution. Her most vital, The Declaration of the Rights of Women and of the Female Citizen (1791) was written in response to the revolutionary Declaration of the Rights of Man (1789), highlighting its inherent sex bias and addressing key issues of women’s rights that it had failed to cover. De Gouges’ refusal to conform to revolutionary orthodoxy, and her continuing protests against its injustices, cost her dearly: she was beheaded in Paris in November 1793, at the age of 45. Notorious in her lifetime, and well-known in France, she is one of the most important figures in the history of feminism.
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