Saturday, June 29, 2013

44. Star of Hope: The Rights of Women

Star of Hope by Becky Brown.
The center square is an old fabric that she dyed with
blackberry juice to match the others.
Marianne with her liberty cap and tricolor banner 
became the symbol of revolutionary France.

After America's Revolution, ideas about human rights conflicting with the rights of kings took hold in France. In 1789 at the beginning of a ten-year insurrection, the French Assembly adopted The Declaration of the Rights of Man with principles of liberty, fraternity and equality promising hopes of an enlightened future.

Olympe de Gouges

Olympe de Gouges soon realized that revolutionary idealists ignored the rights of women. In 1791 she outlined radical ideas for true equality and liberty in areas of marriage and divorce, voting, slavery and education in her Declaration of the Rights of Woman and Citizen. "Woman, wake up....What advantage have you received from the Revolution?” De Gouges publicized her ideas through plays, salons and clubs known as the Society of the Friends of Truth. "Woman has the right to mount the scaffold; she must equally have the right to mount the rostrum."

Women's Patriotic Club by Jean Baptiste Lasueur 1749-1826

French hopes were brutalized in counter revolutions. Outspokenness was dangerous and de Gouge's words predicted her death. She was guillotined in 1793.

De Gouge's ideas seem to have died with her. In 1804 Emperor Napoleon established a civil hierarchy with wives legally subservient to men in his Napoleonic Code, an enduring legacy.

Hubertine Auclert (1848-1914)
founded the French Women's Suffrage Society

Auclert left a permanent statement on her tomb, 
a bronze shawl with the words Women's Suffrage.

Women were not able to vote in France until 1944 and the end of World War II. In 1965 French wives achieved equal legal status in marriage.

Star of Hope by 
Georgann Eglinski

Star of Hope can remind us of the broken promises of the 1789 Revolution. The block was given that name in the 1930s by the syndicated Nancy Page quilt column. 

The BlockBase number is #1631d. Be sure to add the d if you are looking it up by number.

Cutting an 8" Finished Block

A - 5 squares 3-1/8". (3-3/16" if you use BlockBase's 1/16th inch default)

B - Cut 4 squares 3-7/8".

Cut with 2 diagonal cuts to make 4 triangles. You need 16 triangles.

Cutting a 12" Finished Block

A - 5 squares  4-1/2"
B - Cut 4 squares 5-3/16". Cut with 2 diagonal cuts to make 4 triangles

Star of Hope by Becky Brown

Marianne about 1930: 
a idealized female symbol of a state run by men.

Read Olympe de Gouge's declaration here at the City University of New York's website.

Star of Hope by Dustin Cecil

 Hermes scarf


  1. thanks Barbara to remember this long struggle for french women rights, our grand-mothers were in late but finally win ! thanks to them !

  2. I really look forward to these weekly snippets of history and the struggles of women in the past. I am also looking forward to seeing Becky's green and purple quilt. The blocks are beautiful!

  3. Thanks for another great block. I truly love it, learning about the history behind these blocks. Thanks for all the research you do.

  4. Thanks for sharing this, along with your visual aids. I enjoyed reading this.