Dr. Amanda Foreman dramatically recounts the storming of Versailles that marked the beginning of the French Revolution and what this great political change meant for women. From various locations across Paris, Foreman explores the French Revolution’s impact on women. Paintings and scenes from across Paris bring to life the work of radical feminist Olympe de Gouges, who fought for women’s rights in the new republican France. The chief focus of the report is her ‘Declaration of the Rights of Women’ and the way in which it boldly addressed the female exclusion from the earlier male original. A file containing the details of her political trial is also analysed.
Having watched the clip, students could be asked to draw up their own ‘revolutionary declaration’ in groups, stating how they would create a government that suited all of society in a modern world (with a focus on inclusion of gender, race, sexuality etc.). These could be discussed and peer reviewed to prompt a whole class discussion about what the role of a government should be.