Episode 3

Why Education has been the battleground between men and women

Dr Anne Paupert, University of Paris Diderot

“Christine de Pizan’s point in The City of Ladies is to show that women are able to do the same things as men do, and all they lack is education.  She asks Lady Reason if there have ever been with high intelligence.

Anne Paupert discussing Christine de Pizan's  The City of Ladies

Anne Paupert discussing Christine de Pizan's The City of Ladies

Christine goes on to say  ‘I’m asking this because men write that women have very small intelligence and they cannot understand great things’. Reasons answers, ‘I told you before and you know quite well that women are capable of learning anything that men learn and inventing even sciences and arts.’  Reason goes on to say if it were customary to send daughters to school like sons, and if they were taught the natural sciences, they would learn as thoroughly and understand the subtleties of all the arts and sciences as well as boys.”

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Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, French Education Minister

“I was sincerely touched when Malala was the victim of an assault against her life. I invited her to come to France but she couldn’t because she was hospitalized but her dad came. I met him and gave him a prize to give to  her, the Simone de Beauvoir priz in reference to another model, a great feminist who matters considerably here. 

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem

During my first speech as minister of education I talked about these girls who fight to have access to education and I talked about Malala as well. I think that this is the fight of the 21st century. If there is one fight that we have to mobilize for with no borders, in all countries, this is the one.  First of all because it shapes more than any other the world we’ll be living in tomorrow and entire countries were women are still enslaved are countries that are not going to develop.

We’ve seen that in countries where women don’t have autonomy and equality, the country develops slower than others. But it’s also in countries where obscurantism reigns. If we want to fight obscurantism and prevent it to from arriving here in France - because it can be transmitted - we must absolutely work on the subject of women’s education”