Gender Studies Under Fire in France

The academic field of gender studies is under attack in France. The debate over gay marriage has prompted many French conservative politicians and Catholics to severely criticize gender studies for undermining family relations and traditional society. Conservative political and religious groups in France have organized massive protests against the Mariage pour tous (Marriage for All) campaign.

These critics claim that biological differences between males and females are indeed real and the gender theories of the social and cultural construction of gender categories are nothing but ideologies.


According to Le Monde, the Union nationale inter-universitaire (UNI), a right-wing student association recently founded l’Observatoire de la théorie du genre, aiming to “ouvrir les yeux sur la théorie du genre”, which it calls an “idéologie […] qui vise à remettre en cause les fondements de nos sociétés ‘hétéro centrées’, de substituer au concept marxiste de la lutte des classes, celui de la lutte des sexes.”

Le Monde reports on the attack on gender studies in France.

I would note that based on my own experience in French universities and archives, many French academics view gender studies as an American import. Although I do not have access to statistics on this issue, professors of gender studies seem relatively few in number in French universities. The French professors of gender history I have spoken with feel marginalized within the French higher education system.

So, despite the recent legalization of gay marriage in France, religious politics continues to threaten gender studies and broader notions of academic freedom in France.

This entry was posted in Academic Freedom, Education Policy, European History, European Union, French History, Humanities Education, Political Culture, Religious Politics, Women and Gender History. Bookmark the permalink.

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