Élisabeth Badinter

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Élisabeth Badinter
Élisabeth Badinter in 2015
Born Élisabeth Bleustein-Blanchet
5 March 1944 (1944-03-05) (age 74)
Boulogne-Billancourt, France
Citizenship French
Occupation Author, philosopher, historian, professor
Known for Literary works in humanities and women's history
Net worth US$1.8 billion (est.)[1]
Board member of Publicis Groupe
Robert Badinter (m. 1966)
Children 3

Élisabeth Badinter (née Bleustein-Blanchet; 5 March 1944, Boulogne-Billancourt)[2] is a French philosopher, author and historian.

She is best known for her philosophical treatises on feminism and women's role in society. She is an advocate of liberal feminism and women migrant workers's rights in France. A 2010 Marianne news magazine poll named her France's "most influential intellectual", primarily on the basis of her books on women's rights and motherhood.[3]

Badinter is the largest shareholder of Publicis Groupe, a multinational advertising and public relations company, and the chairwoman of its supervisory board.[4] According to Forbes, she is one of the wealthiest French citizens with a fortune of around US$1.8 billion in 2012.[5]

Early life[edit]

Badinter is the daughter of Sophie Vaillant and Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, founder of Publicis. Sophie Vaillant was the granddaughter of Édouard Vaillant, a French political leader and social activist. Sophie's mother was raised as a Roman Catholic in a middle class upbringing, and later converted to Judaism following her marriage.

Elisabeth and her two sisters were raised by parents who believed in the equality of the sexes.[6] She received her secondary education from L'école alsacienne, a private school in Paris. During adolescence, Badinter read Simone de Beauvoir's the Second Sex, which profoundly influenced her views, inspiring her pursuit of a doctorate in philosophy at Sorbonne University. She is a specialist in French history of the Age of Enlightenment.[7]


After her studies, Badinter taught at the École Polytechnique.[8] Her first book titled, L'Amour en plus, was published in 1980 and raises the question of whether maternal love is an exclusively natural instinct or a tendency reinforced in the cultural context, in which the behaviour of motherly affection is expected.[9]

In her critical work, L'un est l'autre, published in 1987, Badinter reflects upon the complementarities of masculin and feminine traits in gendered identities and the conflicts that arise when these complementarities are subjected to oppression. Badinter concludes that a new era of gendered resemblances will lead to a change in gender identities and a revolution of moral values.[10]

Her 2003 treatise, La fausse route, addresses misandry and victimisation of women by French contemporary feminists. "The systematic denial of women's power and violence, the constant portrayal of women as oppressed and therefore innocent is deepening the crevasses of a divided humanity: the victims of masculine oppression on one side and the almighty executioners on the other. "[11]

Political activism[edit]

During the 1989 Islamic scarf controversy in France, Badinter, Régis Debray, Alain Finkielkraut, Elisabeth de Fontenay and Catherine Kintzler wrote an open letter to the then Minister of Education, Lionel Jospin, demanding to not let students who refuse to take off their headscarves go to school.[12] Badinter believes that the French public education system should be free of any religious affiliation and that neutrality in public institutions of a secularist state must prevail over expressions of individuality in them.[13]

Personal life[edit]

In 1966, she married lawyer Robert Badinter, who became Minister of Justice under Mitterrand.[14] Élisabeth and Robert Badinter have one daughter and two sons.


Honours and awards[edit]


  1. ^ "Elisabeth Badinter & family". Forbes. March 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "Badinter, Elisabeth". Current Biography Yearbook 2011. Ipswich, MA: H.W. Wilson. 2011. pp. 33–36. ISBN 9780824211219. 
  3. ^ Kramer, Jane (25 July 2011). "Against Nature: Elisabeth Badinter's contrarian feminism". The New Yorker. 
  4. ^ Lutter contre le voile et… être chargée de la com’ de l’Arabie Saoudite: le troublant mélange des genres d’Elisabeth Badinter, Metronews, 5 April 2016.
  5. ^ The World's Billionaires List, Forbes, March 2012.
  6. ^ "Elisabeth Badinter profile". jwa.org. Retrieved 5 February 2017. 
  7. ^ "Against Nature". The New Yorker. Retrieved 5 February 2017. 
  8. ^ Davies, Lizzy (12 February 2010). "French philosopher says feminism under threat from 'good motherhood'". The Guardian. London. 
  9. ^ Renterghem, Marion Van (19 June 2016). "Elisabeth Badinter, la griffe de la République". Le Monde.fr (in French). ISSN 1950-6244. Retrieved 9 February 2017. 
  10. ^ Collard, Chantal (1987). ""Anthropologie comme mythe d'origine du rapport entre les sexes." Compte Rendu: Elisabeth BADINTER : L'un est l'autre. Des relations entre hommes et femmes, Odile Jacob, Paris, 1986, 367 p" (PDF). Anthropologie et Sociétés. erudit.org. 11 N.1: 161–167. 
  11. ^ Badinter, Elisabeth. Fausse route. Editions Odile Jacob. p. 113. 
  12. ^ "Elisabeth Badinter, la griffe de la République". Crif – Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (in French). 20 June 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2017. 
  13. ^ Smith, Alex Duval (1 February 2004). "France divided as headscarf ban is set to become law". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 9 February 2017. 
  14. ^ Elisabeth Badinter profile, jwa.org. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  15. ^ "Université Libre de Bruxelles – Docteurs Honoris Causa – page 2". ulb.ac.be. Retrieved 9 February 2017. 
  16. ^ Sovereign Ordonnance n° 3.540 of 18 November 2011 : promotions or nominations in the Order of Cultural Merit
  17. ^ "Nominations dans l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres – Cinquantenaire de l'ordre – 2008". culture.gouv.fr. Retrieved 9 February 2017. 
  18. ^ "Rentrée académique 2004–2005: remise des insignes de docteur Honoris Causa à Elisabeth Badinter". ulg.ac.be (in French). Retrieved 9 February 2017. 

External links[edit]