Gourd Émilie – A life and an example: Susan-B. Anthony
Gourd Émilie – A life and an example: Susan-B. Anthony: In the 1850s, in the United States, “a married woman had little more legal rights than a newborn: her husband had the absolute right to watch his fortune, his gain and his person. He was solely responsible for the children. Not only, as we have seen, it was unbecoming and presumptuous for a woman to speak in public, but opinion also forbade her so severely from writing and publishing. All the lucrative professions were closed to women (universities and vocational training being inaccessible to them), to which only a few poorly paid occupations remained. Opportunities to acquire education were rare. And finally, and above all, the inveterate belief in certain circles that the submission of the woman to man was of a divine order tied up in a way much worse than all the legal provisions women, from the cradle to the grave, like a straitjacket. ”
In this short biography of 1920, Émilie Gourd tells the story of this American suffragist of the late 19th century who devoted her life to her fight. If the style is sometimes a little outdated, the remarks are striking – and sometimes almost funny in the report of improbable assemblies like that where the cafe that had rented his room, but heard cleaning the floor at the same time, forced the participants to listen standing up, avoiding the mop or the president of a temperance association who told the women of the assembly: “Our sisters were not invited here to speak, but to keep quiet and instruct. It does not seem useless to recall the tumultuous vicissitudes of the times which preceded us and the price paid to reach the situation of today, at a time when the equality between men and women remains very fragile and incomplete and is constantly being questioned.
Émilie Gourd (1879), comes from the Geneva Protestant bourgeoisie. In 1898, she completed her training at the High School and Higher Girls. This diploma does not allow her to study at the university where she will be a listener. In 1903 she joined a feminist association, the Union des Femmes, and joined the Geneva Association for Women’s suffrage, where she became president. It is also of all the battles: health insurance, maternity insurance, formation of the girls, equal wages, access of the women to all the functions. In 1912, Émilie Gourd founded the journal Le Mouvement féministe, which she held as editor-in-chief until her death. This newspaper will change its name many times, but since June 14, 2001, it bears the name of L’Émilie, in tribute to the defunct feminist. The journalist, during this period, multiplies her feminist activities, until she was appointed secretary of the International Alliance for Women’s Suffrage in 1923. At the end of a heart disease, Émilie Gourd had to restrict her activities. She died on December 4, 1946 at 66 years old.