France Report

How French school books keep it a man's world

French school teaching books offer a stereotyped, partial, sexist and always minimal record of the place of women in History, according to a study published this month and which confirms the conclusions of various official reports carried out over the past decade. The study, by the Hubertine Auclert Centre, a semi-public institution for the promotion of gender equality, was so damning that none of the 11 books examined were considered worthy of a prize of excellence. Lucie Delaporte reports on its findings.

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In her 1998 book Les Femmes ou les silences de l'histoire (‘Women, or the silences of history'), the French historian and feminist Michelle Perrot wrote that "the unequal share of traces, of memory and, even more so, of History" had left women, in comparison to men, in a position "as if outside of time, or at least outside of events".

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