The march of July 5, 1914 for women's suffrage

The march of July 5, 1914 for women's suffrage

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Title: Demonstration of the suffragettes, Mrs. Séverine leading the procession

Creation date : 1914 -

Date shown: July 5, 1914

Dimensions: Height 13 cm - Width 18 cm

Storage location: National Library of France (Paris) website

Contact copyright: BnF, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / BnF image

Picture reference: 12-576806 / EI-13 (371)

Demonstration of the suffragettes, Mrs. Séverine leading the procession

© BnF, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / BnF image

Publication date: March 2017

Historical context

In Copenhagen, in 1910, during the international conference of socialist women, created by Clara Zetkin, director of the review Die Gleichheit (L'equality), founded in 1890, the idea of ​​an International Women's Day was discussed and finally passed. This Day was to be used only to obtain the right to vote for women.

Its unfolding stems from the American example of the Suffragette protests. This action at the beginning of the XXe century is the consequence of the mobilization of women in several Western countries for fair legal and legal treatment that men refuse to them under the pretext of economic dependence… on their husbands or fathers.

On July 5, 1914, the socialist trade unionist Louise Saumoneau and her Socialist Women's Group (founded in 1913) demonstrate on this date considered the first Women's Day in France. This march was set up in reaction to the refusal of deputies (238 out of 591) to the right to vote for women in February 1914.

Image Analysis

Founded in 1904 by photographer Marcel Rol, the Rol agency continues to exist long after his death the following year in a car accident. The cliché is clearly not an artistic act, but an informative image on hot news. Taken on the Carrousel bridge leading from the right bank to the left bank, the photograph conveys a great sense of movement and action in accordance with the ideas of the Suffragettes.

The march of these women in the foreground and of the men who support them on the left takes up the principle of the fresco and therefore of history painting, highlighting the tenacity and uprightness of their fight as well as these women assimilated to Amazons modern. At the center of the composition, recognizable by her white hair and her determined air, stands Caroline Rémy dit Séverine, director of the Cry of the People after the death of Jules Vallès, of which she was the collaborator. This journalist fought for the suffrage of women and for the recognition of women as actors in society. She takes part in the creation of The sling by Marguerite Durand in 1897, the first feminist newspaper.


This shot seems to be able to be captioned "En Marche" from the title of one of Séverine's publications, published in 1896 and which reported on the terrible conditions of the workers and the instrumentalisation of the class struggle by politicians and journalists of his time. In addition to Séverine, this march, echoing the parade of strikers, brought together different women's associations, fighting for gender equality to be recognized by law, by one of the symbols of citizenship and therefore of freedom. action and choice.

Unfortunately, the First World War interrupts the actions of French women, who will be less violent and die-hard than their English sisters, harassed and tortured for their claims. The former will therefore have to wait until the end of World War II to finally have the right to vote.

  • womens rights
  • women vote
  • feminism
  • demonstrations
  • Séverine (Caroline Rémy, known as)


Evelyne LE GARREC, SÉverine, a rebel 1855-1929 Paris, Seuil, 1982.

Evelyne LE GARREC (annotated by), Séverine, choix of papers, Paris, Tierce, 1982.

To cite this article

Saskia HANSELAAR, "The march of July 5, 1914 for the suffrage of women"

Video: 5 Things You Should Know About the Suffrage Movement