Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Modern Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

Cheikh Ndiaye




The German occupation of France caused several changes in the lives of people living in France at the time. Although the French government continued having legal authority over the country as per specified in the Franco-German Armistice the occupied zone was in reality under German military administration. Meanwhile the "free zone" was undergoing numerous changes that affected the French population especially women and their role in society. Vichy France the name given to the French government under the administration of Philippe Petain utilized women as scapegoats for the defeat and subsequent occupation of France by the German army. In order to correct what they perceived as deleterious for the country the Vichy government used propaganda extensively and established a series of policies in order to ensure women's role as a stay-home wife and mother. These laws which gave priority to men in the working world went as far as qualifying women as legally incapacitated to work. However many women believed that their duty to their country went beyond being a wife and a mother and joined the Resistance against the German occupation. This thesis discusses the effects of these policies on women's lives during the occupation period. It also addresses the impact these laws had on women's role in French society as well as some of the gender inequality issues made apparent by the imposition of this new norm.