Yvette Roudy, minister for the rights of women in the Mitterand government of France (1981-1986), will be on the West VirginiaUniversity campus Nov. 11-15 as the fourth Womens Studies Resident.
The public is invited to meet Roudy at a 4-5:30 p.m. reception Monday, Nov. 11, in E. Moore Hall. She will also present a lecture on �€?Womens Rights, Parity and Perspectives on the Political Situation in France�€? at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, in G24 Eiesland. This lecture is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the lecture.
�€?We are delighted to have Mme. Yvette Roudy on campus as our resident and hope that people will take advantage of the opportunity to hear her perspectives on issues that are also very important to American women and men,�€? said Dr. Barbara Howe, director of the WVU Center for Womens Studies. �€?We are also very grateful to the many friends of womens studies at WVU , whose financial support makes possible this residency in honor of Judith Gold Stitzel, founding director of the WVUCenter for Womens Studies and professor emerita of English and womens studies.�€?
Eberly College Dean Duane Nellis added, �€?I am very pleased to welcome Yvette Roudy to the University. Her leadership role in promoting public policies of importance to French women is a strong example of effective advocacy.�€?
Roudy came to politics through feminism. She wrote that she was �€?born into a family of modest means,�€? and very early on realized the existence of injustices that surrounded her. After earning her bachelors degree in English, she became a translator and translated both Betty Friedans The Feminine Mystique and Eleanor Roosevelts My Day into French.
The analytical and reflective work she pursued in feminism and in politics led her to publish Woman in the Margin, with a preface by François Mitterand in 1975, in which she summarized the historical marginalization of women.
Her political career began in 1973, when she became a member of the Executive Committee of the Socialist Party. In 1979, she was elected to the European Parliament, where her parliamentary responsibilities allowed her to develop her talent as a public debater and as a political organizer. As Minister for the Rights of Women between 1981 and 1986, she built her action around the principal of �€?positive actions�€? and fought for the integration of women in the power system.
Her tenure at the ministry was marked by six major laws, including the law on the reimbursement of abortion (1982); the law for equal access to public jobs (1982); a law on the equality of men and women in the workplace, allowing among other things the implementation of equality plans in various companies (1983); a law on the collection of alimony payments (1984); a law on the equality of spouses in marriage (1985); and a circular relative to the feminization of names of professions, functions, military ranks, and titles (1986).
Roudy published her autobiography, A Cause dElles (Because of Them) , in 1985 with a preface by Simone de Beauvoir.
Alarmed by the fact that France continued to lag behind with regards to the representation of women in politics, Roudy created, in 1992, the �€?Assembly of Women,�€? an organization she leads, and the European Political Institute for the Formation of Women. In 1996, she asked 10 former women ministers from the right and the left to sign her �€?Manifesto for parity,�€? a document that resulted in the Socialist party having women candidates comprise 30 percent of the total number of candidates in the 1997 elections.
Her nomination as President of the Commission on the Equality of chances for men and women at the European Counsel, from 1998 to 2000 gave her the opportunity to pursue her fight for the cause of women in the 40 countries member of the organization.
While on campus, Roudy will also be meeting with students and faculty in law, social work, public administration, French and womens studies, among others.