Women and Politics in France: a public lecture by renowned Professor Armelle Le Bras-Chopard

Professor Armelle Le Bras-Chopard – from the University of Versailles – will be giving a public lecture on “Women and Politics in France” at the Australian National University on Wednesday, 8th October 2014.

Conference details:

Wednesday, 8th October 2014, 1.00pm – 2.00pm
Manning Clark Centre Lecture Theatre 6 (MCC T6), ANU


France likes to think of itself as a country that champions liberty. Yet for political and cultural reasons, in comparison with other countries it has been slow to grant political rights to women (women’s suffrage, 1944). In spite of affirmative action measures (eg, ’la parité’, the electoral law on gender parity passed in 2000), few women have thus far attained high political office.

This lecture will discuss some ’theories’ of the supposed inferiority of women they were aimed at proving their unsuitability to assume political responsibilities and at confining them instead to a maternal role. It will also consider how male politicians used these theories in the first half of the 20th century to justify preventing women from gaining the right to vote.

It will then show how affirmative action measures that have promoted the increased participation of women in politics are still inadequate.

Finally, the paper will draw upon some examples, including from contemporary French politics, to demonstrate how even those women who have risen to power remain subject to abiding sexist stereotyping.


Professor Le Bras-Chopard (University of Versailles) has written a number of works on women and politics and more generally on attitudes to women in history. She has also been engaged in public policy, particularly on the situation of women in education. For a decade (1999-2009) she was in charge of a unit within the French Ministry of Education on Gender Equality in Higher Education.

At the University of Versailles she has been a Deputy Vice-Chancellor for International Education. For a number of years she has also been a local government councillor and Deputy-Mayor responsible for culture in the community of Guyancourt, near Versailles. In this capacity she has organised a yearly event on gender equality, entitled ’Le temps des femmes’ (The time of women).

Professor Le Bras-Chopard’s visit is organised with the support of the Gender Institute and the French Research Cluster.

Dernière modification : 17/09/2015

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