French women were allowed to vote well after most Western countries. Indeed this right had been granted on April 21, 1944 by order of the French Committee of National Liberation, signed by General de Gaulle. But as the national territory was occupied by the Germans, this right has been used only for 29 April 1945 municipal elections, and in next October for the elections to the Constituent Assembly.
However, many women (and men, including the Pope in 1919!) had of course called for giving to the most beautiful half of humanity the rights the other half reserved for itself.
For instance, the activist Madeleine Pelletier launched in 1907 the newspaper "La suffragiste". In 1909 the Union française pour le suffrage des femmes (UFSF) -French Union for Woman Suffrage- was established and Ferdinand Buisson MP published a favorable report on women voting in municipal elections.
On April 26, 1914, a female plebiscite was organized by the suffragist movements relayed by the journalist Séverine (real name Caroline Rémy) and the newspaper "Le Journal". The results were clear: 505 972 "I want to vote" bulletins against 114 negative ones. This votation is illustrated by the picture beneath, taken from the book Combats de femmes 1914-1918. Les Françaises, pilier de l'effort de guerre, ed. Évelyne Morin-Rotureau, L'atelier d'Histoire, Autrement, 2014.
A demonstration was organized on 5 July in Paris and included some 6,000 suffragettes. It is probably to prepare this event that the fan we show below was edited. Both sides are identical.
The declaration of war would end the claims of feminists : in their majority they positively answered the call for "sacred union" of President Poincaré in defense of the homeland. Another war will be necessary to enable them to get this very natural satisfaction.
See for example : http://www.lefigaro.fr/histoire/centenaire-14-18/2014/08/29/26002-20140829ARTFIG00073-les-femmes-ont-gagne-le-droit-de-voter-1917.php
As far as we know, this fan is the first which asked for women a legal political role. In the United States, hand screens/fans are an appreciated political propaganda apparatus, and were of course used also by suffragettes, as illustrated here. (from Women's Suffrage Memorabilia)
Suffrage FansWe also show on another "special page" an interesting Libéria political hand fan. The profusion of fans with a political subject - in spite it is by its essence a womanly object, is a proof that women did not wait to want or be authorized to vote for playing a political role, and not a small one. On this website, some examples are shown with our giant revolutionnary fans, an anti-napoleonic hand screen or our fan from Epinal or Tonkin.
- Suffrage fans, Emilia D. van Beugen, photographer
Et retrouvez ici nos autres "pages spéciales" - Click here for our other "Special Pages"