Olympe de Gouges ( 7 May 1748 – 3 November 1793), born Marie Gouze, was a French playwright and political activist whose writings on women’s rights and abolitionism reached a large audience in various countries.
She began her career as a playwright in the early 1780s. As political tension rose in France, Olympe de Gouges became increasingly politically engaged. She became an outspoken advocate against the slave trade in the French colonies in 1788. At the same time, she began writing political pamphlets. Today she is perhaps best known as an early women’s rights advocate who demanded that French women be given the same rights as French men. In her Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen (1791), she challenged the practice of male authority and the notion of male-female inequality. She was executed by guillotine during the Reign of Terror (1793–1794) for attacking the regime of the Revolutionary government and for her association with the Girondists.