Le Fronde: The Story of the First Feminist Newspaper

Le Fronde: The Story of the First Feminist Newspaper

THE WOMAN POST is a publication that reflects content and topics of great interest and the diversity of voices of women, of all ethnic groups, ideologies, roles, and activities in all latitudes of the planet.

However, it has not been the only initiative of this type in which women are the protagonists. More than 100 years ago, precisely in 1897, Marguerite Durand founded Le Fronte, the first journalist only run 100% by women.

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Marguerite was first an actress for ten years in 1882 making her stage debut with a comedy by Alexandre Dumas. At that time, she met a militant lawyer who introduced her to the world of politics and journalism. This meeting between the two of them was key for Marguerite to join politics and just causes and it was not until she entered Le Figaro that she realized her true vocation: Advocating for women's rights.

There she was invited to cover the feminist congress with the request to make a satirical and comic note about it. This was not funny to Marguerite, who became a defender of gender equality and later founded the first feminist newspaper, La Fronde.

The greatest peculiarity of the journal was that only women worked in it. In addition to being directed by a woman, everyone in it was "everyone": in writing, editing, photography, and printing there was only female talent.

In the middle of the 19th century, these women who worked for Marguerite were paid the same as the men who at the time had the same position. Also far from the currents that taught women to behave or only to dedicate themselves to sewing or household trades. Le Fronde talked about education, sports, women's rights, the female vote, and even the deregulation of prostitution

In the early years, La Fronde had a daily edition and it sold 50,000 copies. In 1903, costs climbed and it became a monthly with 200,000 copies in its best months until it closed in March 1905.

Important women were part of this project, such as the astronomer Dorothea Klumpke, who explained the surprises of the universe while Clémence Royer, translator of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species, was in charge of the science section. Hélène Sée,m was the head of politics and became the first female political analyst in France; just as Clotilde Dissard defended the work of women and fought for the end of pimping.

La Fronde was a platform in favor of the labor movement, both men and women, but Marguerite Durand promoted, in 1907, the creation of a Women's Labor Office, which belonged to the Ministry of Labor. She even went to a session of Parliament to make herself heard.

She organized the Women's Labor Congress (Congrès du travail fémenin) from March 25 to 28, 1907 and a few months later, she passed a law that allowed married women to have their salary.

In 1908, she was a speaker at the National Congress for civil rights and women's suffrage, and she claimed not only the right for her to vote in elections but also to be paid as men's media.

Just like the print media today, La Fronde 1903 had to change its periodicity (in principle it was weekly), due to financial problems, and it became monthly until 1905 when it would disappear permanently.

This precursor and pioneer medium for feminist causes was an important pillar and a fundamental voice for the feminist movement that today is facing a new wave that, as back then, is constantly fed by digital media in which women have asserted their voices, their stories, and complaints.

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