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Submitted by Jeffrey T. Moro on Thursday, 11/10/2011, at 10:39 AM
In 1944 (ratified in 1946), General Charles de Gaulle of France offered the island of Martinique the “opportunity to become a department of France overseas” (Sharpley-Whiting 57). Rather than as a subjugated colony, this would provide Martinique political representation equal to that of hexagonal France—although of course this also means that Martinique was denied political independence and would still be inextricably linked up with the former colonizing force. Nardal saw this as an overwhelmingly positive action, calling General de Gaulle “the Liberator of the Homeland” and “the messenger of Victory” (59). She takes this positive because de Gaulle also extended the right to vote to French women, and by extension, Martiniquan women. This unprecedented act, in Nardal’s eyes, conferred upon women completely equal citizenship to that of men, and thus was a vital step in the feminist négritude movement.
“More than men, women need a certain sense of security in order to work productively: they found this security in General de Gaulle. Their instinctive conservatism allied itself so well to the taste for reform and even for revolutionary change thanks to their practical sense, found a sympathetic resonance in de Gaulle” (Nardal, To Work, 59).
“At this regeneration of all humanity, we women of Martinique can bring our great desire for moral propriety into the political domain. And we will watch over it fiercely, no matter what party we belong to” (Nardal, Martinical Women and Politics, 65).