12/09 – La Fronde

Marguerite Durand. (Jules Cayron)

On this day in 1897, French activist Marguerite Durand founded La Fronde, a feminist newspaper based in Paris. Unlike most publications of the time that targeted women, Durand’s paper covered more “masculine” topics: politics, sports, philosophy. Referring to the 1648 Fronde (slingshot) uprisings against French monarchy, the paper was run entirely by women paid the same wage as men of the day. La Fronde’s “militant” feminism – in reality, basically just women writing in a “male” style about “male” things – excited controversy, which in turn grew the paper’s readership. Durand’s paper is credited with galvanizing the women’s suffrage movement in France; interestingly, it also got more women involved with supporting WWI due to its patriotic republican stance. Although the paper went bankrupt in 1905, its short run played a large part in changing attitudes towards women in the workforce, a vastly important factor when the Great War broke out in 1914 – a war that indirectly helped women win the fight for suffrage.

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