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France

De Gaulle niece tipped for Panthéon in push to honour women

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-02-21

The number of women honoured with burial at France’s Panthéon is set to double, with two female French Resistance heroes tipped to be interred at the Paris monument, including the niece of former president and World War II hero Charles de Gaulle.

French President François Hollande is expected to announce Friday that the remains of Geneviève de Gaulle-Anthonioz will be moved to the prestigious mausoleum, where famous French figures such as Voltaire, Rousseau and Victor Hugo are also buried, according to reports in French media and confirmed by a government source.

De Gaulle-Anthonioz joined the French Resistance shortly after Nazi occupation in 1940. She was arrested in 1943 and spent the rest of the war in a German concentration camp.

Hollande is also set to announce that the ashes of Germaine Tillion, another female resistance leader, will be interred at the Panthéon.

Tillion became one of the leading commanders of the French Resistance in Paris, before being arrested and sent to the same camp as de Gaulle-Anthonioz.

Pierre Brossolette, also a key figure in the French Resistance, and Jean Zay, a politician who was assassinated in 1944 by Vichy France’s Nazi-allied paramilitary forces, will join them in the Panthéon, according to reports.

Honouring ‘great women’ too

De Gaulle-Anthonioz and Germaine Tillion’s interment at the Paris landmark, reserved for the remains of the country’s most treasured national figures, will bring the total number of women there to four, alongside 71 men.

The lack of women buried at the Panthéon has recently been the subject of debate in France.

Last year, a group of around one hundred women and a dozen men gathered outside the building to demonstrate in favour of more women being “Pantheonised”.

Currently, scientist Marie Curie is the only woman to be buried at the Panthéon on her own merit, while Sophie Berthelot was also interred there as the wife of chemist and politician Marcellin Berthelot.

Feminists have also long complained about the gold lettering on the façade of the building itself, which reads “To its great men, a grateful fatherland,” which they say should be altered to add “and women”.

Date created : 2014-02-20

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