Storytelling Archive: Cécile Duquenne

Women Leading the Way

Cécile Duquenne

Cécile Duquenne

Lycée Français de New York | New York, NY

For the project, I remember getting caught up in the game too, reflecting on the living conditions of women on both sides of my family, my grandmothers and great-grandmothers who, though living their lives at opposite ends of France (some in the Basque country in the Pyrenees, others in Picardy in the Somme) led very similar lives: they all worked in the fields, they all took care of their homes and their families. They could read and write but did not have an education beyond primary school. In the end, their way of life was very close to that of their own grandmothers.

And I thought to myself that mine was not at all like theirs: I had the right to vote, no pressure from family or society to get married, the possibility of living alone and traveling, I could choose my profession, and where I wanted to live. How good it is to be a woman in France in 2018!

I was conscious of all of that before the project began but it gave me a greater appreciation of the situation.

On a professional level, I saw students struggling to engage in the writing process get into their drafts with enthusiasm, talk with excitement about what they had learned about their families, and about their suffragettes. In my opinion, it is without a doubt and not surprisingly that the connection to their families was what made them embrace the project so completely. Without that, the research project would have just meant another task for them. With the family component, they took ownership of the project, wrote with interest and with pleasure. They were all "On board"! And they were very proud to present their work to our school community in the form of an exhibition!

WILFRID | 5th Grade


The first lady to vote in my family was my mother: Schéhérazade, born in 1966. She comes from Algeria, her father is Algerian and her mother is French. VIEW PDF +

ARIEL | 5th Grade


The boys were appreciated more than girls in the small population of West Virginia. Men were powerful, so the mayor was a man of course. The political system was a democracy. VIEW PDF +

EMAH | 5th Grade


In the early 1900’s, the right to vote was only reserved for men. In fact, they considered women to be just like servants. They could not vote. In France, women were given the right to vote after World War II. VIEW PDF +

LÂLÉ | 5th Grade


My mother always brought me with her in the little cabin where we voted, because she says that voting is the most important right we can have. VIEW PDF +

KIM | 5th Grade


In Madagascar, the boys were treated like kings and the girls had to take care of the boys. My grandmother knew how to cook at six years old. VIEW PDF +

SOFIA | 5th Grade


In Uruguay the constitution of the republic, formed in 1917, gave woman the right to vote, but it was at the end of 1938 that those women were allowed to vote. VIEW PDF +

MATTHEW | 5th Grade


In Egypt the women activists had formed an association with Doria Shafiq at their head. They organized meetings and protests, and sometimes the police dispersed them. VIEW PDF +

JULIA | 5th Grade


I also think that it isn’t fair for men to believe they’re superior to women even though they’re equal. Women did the right choice by fighting against all sexist rules. VIEW PDF +

ARIANE | 5th Grade


In Kara’s village there was no secondary school for girls, but because she wanted to pursue her education, she continued studying in the next big village. VIEW PDF +

CHARLI | 5th Grade


I find that the right to vote for women is very fair as men had that right and women didn’t, and this was unjust. I also find that the vote of women is important as they participate in the development of society. VIEW PDF +

MIKAIL | 5th Grade


Elpidia is my great-grandmother on my mother’s side. She married a soldier who helped the Americans fight the Japanese in WWII. He was even captured and tortured. VIEW PDF +

JEREMY | 5th Grade


Evelyne went to live in Israel in the 1950s. When Israel was created in 1948, the first president, David Ben Gourion, immediately decided to give the right to vote to everybody, men and women. VIEW PDF +

MISHA | 5th Grade


Her father taught her to be a responsible young lady. She studied nursing and medicine. She wanted to be a surgeon but at that time people did not trust female surgeons. VIEW PDF +

TOMAS | 5th Grade


Elisabeth was the first born in a family of six boys. She took care of the family because her mum died in giving birth to her little brother Paul. She stopped her studies to help to raise her brothers. VIEW PDF +

PARKER | 5th Grade


I believe that is awesome that women can vote because we are equal. It would be great if everybody had the same rights in the entire world. If men couldn’t vote, I would do the same thing. VIEW PDF +

ORIANA | 5th Grade


My great-grandmother was raised in the standard criteria of boy or girl. The boys did studies to work and earn the money of the family, while the girls learn how to maintain a house perfectly. VIEW PDF +

CLARISSE | 5th Grade


She voted when she was young, together with her mother. It was a miracle when she voted, and for her mother as well. She felt very happy and empowered. VIEW PDF +

KAYANEH | 5th Grade


The event that led to the voting rights of women in Lebanon was the need of religious groups to win more votes. VIEW PDF +

JULIAN | 5th Grade


She had the right to vote on April 21, 1944 and was able to cast her vote for the first time in 1945 to elect Charles de Gaulle, President of the French Republic. VIEW PDF +

KATHERINE | 5th Grade


My great-grandmother Sybil never fought for women’s rights, but she was delighted when they were allowed to vote because she was a woman who wanted independence and freedom. VIEW PDF +