Janine Mossuz-Lavau, Anne de Kervasdoué

Women are Not Just Men Publication date : March 1, 1997

The changes which have come to be in the second half of the 20th century have taken women a long ways from the profile adopted by their mothers. Today, women represent almost half of the working population, they have literally invaded higher education, they have abandoned their seats on Church pews and, armed with new legislation on birth control and the legalization of abortion, they have taken full control of their bodies. Do all these transformations lead us to trace the portrait of a woman who has become a clone of men ? We can ask ourselves this question when we remember the arguments of feminists in the 70's employing the "egalitarian" themes of Simone de Beauvoir. More recently, some have gone so far as to announce the coming of an "androgynous" society. But what do the women and the men of this country think about all this ? How do women see themselves in relation to men ? How do they define themselves and how do they describe the men of their lives ? To answer these questions, Janine Mossuz-Lavau and Anne de Kervasdoué proceeded with a very long survey of over a hundred women, all with diverse statutes (age, profession, origins, geography, state of life, etc...). The result is a very pointed realization of today's female identity.

A political scientist, Janine Mossuz-Lavau is Director of Research at the CNRS and at the National Foundation of Political Science. She has published Les Français et la Politique - The French and Politics - (Editions Odile Jacob, 1994). Anne de Kervasdoué is a gynecologist and has published Questions de femmes and Questions d'hommes (Odile Jacob, 1996).