May ’68 marked a watershed moment in French society, culture, and political life. The feminist movement was no exception. Women took to the streets and meeting halls around the country, challenging outdated sexual standards, fighting for reproductive freedom, and articulating women’s oppression in radically new ways. In Daughters of 1968: Redefining French Feminism and the Women’s Liberation Movement
(University of Nebraska Press, 2019), Dr. Lisa Greenwald
offers a refreshingly new perspective on the history of French feminism, beginning with the liberation of France in 1944--when women were granted the right to vote--to 1981 and the election of a Socialist president who promised to transform women’s status in French society. Greenwald examines the endless challenges of collective organizing, along with the fractious ideological divisions and strategic differences among the various feminist groups that emerged after the events of May. In this interview, she discusses influential figures in the movement such as Gisèle Halimi and Simone Veil and the fight to legalize abortion, Simone de Beauvoir and the influence of The Second Sex
on feminists after May ’68, and Antoinette Fouque and the tensions surrounding the Psych-et-Po group. She concludes the interview with an insightful analysis of current debates surrounding the #MeToo movement in France.
Lisa Greenwald, Ph.D. spent almost a decade working in and researching the women’s movement in France, supported by an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship and grants from the French government. She has worked as a consultant and in-house historian for a variety of nonprofits and foundations in France, Chicago, and New York. She teaches history at Stuyvesant High School in New York City.
Beth Mauldin is an Associate Professor of French at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Her research interests include French cultural studies, film, and the social and cultural history of Paris.