Elisabeth Badinter

Elisabeth Badinter

Man is not the enemy, to win equality we have to fight with them, surely not against them

Badinter has been one of the most ardent and strident feminist voices of 20th century France and one of the most controversial intellectual figures of her generation. Basing much of her work around her feminist beliefs, Badinter is equally well-known for her interest and understanding of the women of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Born in Hauts-de-Seine, the first of three daughters, Badinter’s father was the founder of the French advertising agency Publicis – now one of the 5 largest such firms in the world. She studied sociology and philosophy and married early, to Robert Badinter, a prominent lawyer who served France as Minister of justice from 1981 until 1986.

Her academic career began with the publication of L’Amour en plus, a famous treatise on the history of maternal love which controversially for the time, argued that it was not a birthright of women and that the desires and impulses of motherhood are not innate. She wrote about wider general issues and in particular the negative affects of gender roles on males in her 1989 book Paroles d’hommes.

A committed intellectual and major contributor to the feminist cause in France, Badinter has also remained close to her father’s firm and continues to sit on the board of Publicis.

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