It was very common during the 1990s: conferences and summer courses would announce round tables about tradition and the future, about post-modernism and the return to narrative, or non-fiction versus the classic genres.
And there was always a discussion about “Women and literature”, as though having been born with two XX chromosomes was the most important thing, the most interesting thing, as opposed to the contribution that female authors might have to make toward better understanding their work. But these ghetto sessions, a consolation prize for those of us who dared to walk along the margins of the Great Universal Literature of All Time, a masculine preserve dating back into the mists of time, are no longer held. By having turned down invitations to participate in them again and again, we female writers finally managed to do away with them.
It's worth pointing out that women now make up 52% of the world’s population. This piece of data alone should be enough to understand that we cannot accept being treated as a minority any longer
I mention all this to help explain my stupor at learning of a television debate called Women First, as though everything else going on in the world was of little import. As if the name of the program wasn’t enough, the moderator, which is to say the person in charge, was the sole man on the stage. It is worth pointing out that women now make up 52% of the world’s population. This piece of data alone should be enough to understand that we cannot accept being treated as a minority any longer. The problems women face are the same problems the rest of society faces, and we are now the most representative face of humanity.
I’m aware that female politicians have to put up with the same male chauvinism that other women face in the fields where they work, but the four women involved, pictured above, should have known better than to participate in such a sorry spectacle. In fact, refusing to take part in the program would have been a very effective way of attracting many voters: myself, for example.
English version by Nick Lyne.