Purpose of the Project
Throughout this semester, I had the opportunity to travel back in time and have a better understanding of France’s art, religion, politics, human rights and the power of women in society. In general, the overall purpose of this project is to analyze Simone Annie Liline Veil and to reflect on how her ideas influenced the way many people in society look up to her. Also, while analyzing important achievements and contributions of hers, I will be able to connect Simone’s ideals to my personal life as well.
Who was Simone Annie Liline Veil?
Simone Annie Liline Veil was born in Nice, France on July 13th, 1927 (1). At a very young age, Simone had to face the inhumanities and cruelty in ‘’concentration camps’’ along with some members of her family (2). During this time, she also had to overcome many obstacles such as the loss of her mother, father, and brother (2). Fortunately, she was lucky enough to survive, not just to tell her story, but to fight for changes in France and Europe. Even though, the years she spent in the concentration camps were the darkest of her life, Veils went back to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 2005 where she spoke; and along with other holocaust survivors they celebrated the ‘’60thanniversary of the liberation of the camps’'(1). Years later, she became a lawyer and a politician, where she not only represented her nation and Europe, but she also elevated the power of women in society by serving as Minister of Health, President of the European Parliament and member of the Constitutional Council of France (2). Veil died in France on June 30th, 2017. She was honored with a special ceremony by many politicians, holocaust survivors, and even the president of France. Simone was then reburied in the Pantheon (a place where the bodies of important French figures lie) on July 1, 2018 (2).
Power of Women in Society, Women’s Rights, and Freedom.
The role that women play in society has transcended within the years. Back in time, not only in France, but here in the United States and other parts of the world as well, women did not have the right to vote, to obtain an education, or even to form part of political affairs. However, nowadays the issue has been perceived different thanks to incredible women like Simone.
Simone is a real example of how far a woman can go when their visions are strong enough to change the world. During her life, Simone served as Minister of Health of France (1974-1979), President of the European Parliament (1979-1993), and member of the Constitutional Council of France(1998) in which she had a huge impact not only in the power of women in society, but also in their rights and freedom (2).
Simone worked hard in order to improve the conditions in women’s prisons (2). She fought for the adoptive rights of women and helped elevate the value of French women’s status (1). However, France remembers her by two important contributions: the legalization of contraceptives in France on December 4th, 1974 and the legalization of abortion in France on January 17th, 1975 (1). Fighting for such rights in a political setting were men dominated was not an easy task for Simone. Expressing her ideals about such a controversial topic triggered aggression and insult towards her and her family (1). However, these humiliations never stopped Simone from exposing her ideas. She fought with intelligence and courage for the betterment of women, for what she believed was right. It is important to highlight that Simone believed that abortion should be the last resource, but that women should have the right to decide for their lives. She saw motherhood as a choice rather than just a decision made by someone else. Today, not only in France, but around the world, people thank Simone for her ‘’courageous and determined fight’’ in order to legalize abortion.
Reflection and How I Relate to Simone
I relate some of my life experiences with many of the obstacles that Simone had to face throughout her life. I know what it feels like to be separated from someone you love, I know how it feels like to miss someone special. When my dad decided to come to the United States in seek of a better future, the Cuban government didn’t let my mom, my brother and I come with him. Since my mom was a doctor she had to wait for the government to ‘’liberate’’ her in order to come to the United States. The process took about three years. I can honestly say that these were the worst years of my life. I sympathize with Simone because after all the suffer, she found the strength to fight for her dreams and to bring peace to a ‘’divided Europe’’.
As a women, I could not feel more represented by Simone’s ideas. In a world where women are still struggling for equality, where women make less than a man that holds the same scholar degree as her, it is important to highlight the contributions of a women that builded a platform in the changes that we as women want to see today. Because of Veil’s efforts in normalizing the duality of man, I alongside millions of other young woman, can comfortably fight for our rights without the fear of getting seriously reprimanded. Her efforts didn’t go unnoticed. Veil’s impact is still reflected and talked about today. Though today Veil’s efforts are undergoing an era of attack, legalizing abortions saved the lives of many.
(1). “Veil, Simone (1927—).”. “Veil, Simone (1927-).” Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia.com, 2019, http://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/veil-simone-1927.
(2). “Simone Veil.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Apr. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simone_Veil.
Thank you for Reading
Sheyla E Rodriguez.