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France’s Sexist School Textbooks: Only 11 Women History Makers

It's not surprising that women don't play as large a role as men in the telling of history. But a new study in France shows just how small: less than four percent of the figures given their own biographies in French history books are women.

*NEWSBITES

A new study has quantified just how under-represented woman are in France's public teaching of history. Out of 339 figures from around the world and across the centuries whose biographies are included in French high schools’ new history books, only 11 are women, according to the study conducted by Hubertine Auclert, a feminist research center.

Moreover, the study criticized the portraits for being simplistic and stereotypical: Marie-Antoinette is described as a carefree and whimsical queen; others, like Germany’s Angela Merkel or France’s Segolène Royal are only represented photographs -- sans captions.

Typically, women are depicted as mothers, daughters or wives, and their role is often limited to biological and educational purposes. They are very rarely shown as actively taking part in the making of history.

Crucial issues -- like women’s suffrage, or the fact that women were not eligible for Athenian citizenship -- are well documented, but women remain insufficiently and inadequatly represented in these new manuals.

Read the full story in French by Marie-Estelle Pech

Photo – brx0

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

 

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