Françoise Giroud (1916 - 2003) was a French journalist, writer, screenwriter, and politician.
When I met her, in her apartment on the Right Bank in Paris, I asked her why she had steered clear of feminist ideologies. She gave a smile that reminded me of the radiant, seductive expressions of the French anchor women. It was an expression designed for the camera; but it was also a rather vulnerable and friendly expression of someone attempting to please.
“I’m allergic to ideologies, in general. I’m interested in observing them and trying to understand why they arise, but I’m profoundly skeptical. I’m incapable of adhering to an ideology. I believe that the MLF [Women’s Liberation Movement] in France was the extreme culmination of a very powerful movement throughout the world. And it did have its roots in history. Feminism is a very ancient movement, but perhaps, for the first time, it has really achieved something. In France, in the nineteenth century there was a great deal of feminist activity, in England, they managed to gain the vote, but the movement failed in France. But actually, having the vote is really not the key. There are only two essential elements that can change women’s role in society: birth control and the women’s participation in the economy.”
Excerpt from Through Parisian Eye [PDF]