In celebration of Women’s History Month at the University of North Texas, Megan Conway, professor of French at Louisiana State University in Shreveport, will discuss the life of Olympe de Gouges, an 18th century French playwright, political activist, abolitionist and feminist.

The program begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 31 in Room 225 of UNT’s Eagle Student Services Center, located across from the Willis Library between Avenues A and C (1147 Union Circle).

A question-and-answer session will follow.

The free lecture is sponsored by the UNT Department of History and is a part of UNT’s observance of Women’s History Month in March.

Conway’s presentation will highlight the feminist principles of de Gouges, who protested against the French government, organized clubs and parades, and wrote newspaper articles, plays, about 70 political pamphlets and a 500-page novel.

Conway is writing the first English-language biography of de Gouges, using information gathered from rare book libraries in the United States and France over the past 12 years.

De Gouges is best known for writing the “Declaration of the Rights of Woman and Citizenesses,” which acted as a counterpoint to the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen.” The document includes her idea for a marriage contract, gender equality in marriage and the right to divorce.

De Gouges’ socially advanced ideas were not accepted by the government or many women, and she was beheaded by the guillotine in 1793 during France’s Reign of Terror.

For more information, contact the UNT Department of History at 940-565-2288. flagship of the UNT System.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 25, 2011.