Fighting for women, the fight of a lifetime

Coming from a modest family, Gisèle Halimi was born on July 27, 1927 in La Goulette in Tunisia. A committed lawyer, she became known in particular during the emblematic Bobigny trial in 1972, where she defended a minor tried for having aborted following rape. She obtained the release of the young girl and managed to mobilize public opinion, paving the way for the decriminalization of abortion, at the beginning of 1975, with the Veil law.

Founder in 1971 with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir of the association for the right to abortion Choose the cause of women, she was the same year one of the signatories of the famous manifesto of 343 women publicly saying they had an abortion.

Elected Member of Parliament for Isère (related to the PS) in 1981, Gisèle Halimi continues her fight in the Assembly, this time for the reimbursement of the voluntary termination of pregnancy (abortion), finally voted in 1982. Before taking her distances with the Socialist Party after its election to the Assembly. In 1998, she was part of the team that created the Association for the taxation of financial transactions and for citizen action (Attac).

Along with her career as a lawyer, she pursued a career as a writer. Among his fifteen titles, appear Djamila Boupacha (1962), named after an emblematic activist of the FLN, and a more intimate work like Fritna (1999), on her unloving mother, “totally ignorant practicing Jew”.

Mother of three boys, including Serge Halimi, editorial director of Le Monde diplomatique, she confided that she would have liked to have a daughter to “test” her feminist commitment. “I would have liked to know if, by raising her, I was going to conform exactly to what I had claimed, both for myself and for all women,” she told Le Monde in 2011.

In a long interview given to Le Monde in September 2019, the nonagenarian was still surprised that “the injustices done to women do not cause a general revolt”.