Friday, December 15, 2006
From Miserable Beginnings to the Top of the World
If what wikipedia reports is true, Ségolène Royal certainly had one of those childhoods straight out of Roald Dahl or Charles Dickens. Apparently, her father never wanted daughters and looked at them as slaves and baby machines. "I have five children and three girls." Ouch. She had to fight with him just to get the privilege of completing high school. I've come across men who had this type of attitude before - my husband's grandfather didn't see the point in schooling a woman past high school and fought tooth-and-nail with his eldest daughter before she finally was allowed to earn her teaching certification. But high school? Compulsory high school education was instituted by Napoleon--you'd think any conservative Gaul worth his salt would advocate it.
Rising above those sorts of horrible influences and experiences certainly qualifies Ségolène to be seen as a role model, particularly among the young Magrebine women that now live in virtually every city in France. As a pied noir herself, Ségolène has a unique angle on the current presidential race - she has witnessed colonialism firsthand and could quite possibly become a voice for the marginalized citizens of her country. She has already served as a voice for other marginalized groups, including women and the handicapped.
It would be such a great victory for women everywhere if Ségolène were elected to govern one of the world's major powers.
Photo: Ségolène Royal being greeted by a Tahitian during the France-Oceania Summit in June 2006. (courtesy Tahitipresse)