Des Révolutionnaires Invisibles: Les femmes Algériennes et l'organisation de la « Section des Femmes » du FLN en France métropolitaine

Translated title of the contribution: Invisible revolutionaries: Algerian women and the organisation of the FLN's "Section des Femmes" in metropolitan France

Neil Macmaster

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

6 Citations (Scopus)


While historians have studied in some detail the French Federation of the Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN), embedded in a predominantly masculine universe of migrant workers, almost nothing is known about the role of Algerian women who arrived in increasing numbers during the War of Independence. The article, through access to previously unknown internal archives of the FLN Section des femmes and interviews with key participants, investigates the origins and organisation of a clandestine network that spanned the main urban and industrial centres of metropolitan France. The Section campaigned for the recognition of women's equality within the FLN, and of rights to literacy, employment and political participation as integral to the creation of a just post-Independence order that could harness the full potential of the neglected half of the population. However, such an agenda revealed generational differences between young French-educated militants and older married women as to the nature of mancipation, and aroused male opposition due to the deeply entrenched socio-cultural norms of female segregation and codes of honour. Such tensions within the FLN French Federation, the most politically advanced proletarian section of the independence movement, already revealed the contradictions of an emancipation agenda that was to lead to a rapid, conservative marginalisation of women by the newly independent state.
Translated title of the contributionInvisible revolutionaries: Algerian women and the organisation of the FLN's "Section des Femmes" in metropolitan France
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)164-190
Number of pages27
JournalRevue d'Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013


  • Activism
  • Algerian War (1954-1962)
  • Emancipation
  • FLN
  • France
  • Women

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