“Breaking the rules: Mathilde Méliot, the first woman member of the French Société d’économie politique" - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
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“Breaking the rules: Mathilde Méliot, the first woman member of the French Société d’économie politique"

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Abstract

The nineteenth century saw the emergence and the development of a French liberal school of economics which contributed to the institutionalization of economics, especially through the creation of the 'Société d’économie politique' (SEP) and the publication of the 'Journal des économistes'. While the works of the economists who took part in this process are already well known, the role that women economists played in the SEP has never been studied. My paper aims to fill this gap in the literature, by focusing on Mathilde Méliot, the first woman who was accepted as “corresponding member” and one of the three women, with Clémence Royer and Marie Le Roy, who became a “full member”. Today she is almost totally forgotten, to the point of not even being mentioned in biographies on women economists nor in studies devoted to French feminism. While little is known about her life (Section 2), she played a quite important role in France at the time, both as a feminist (Section 3) and as an economist specialized in financial matters (Section 4). My paper shows that, compared to the two other women who became “full members” of the SEP at the same time, Mathilde Méliot can be considered an exception on two levels: first, her membership was a mark of recognition of her professional skills (as a journalist) by the members of the SEP—a fact which makes her situation fundamentally different from that of Marie Le Roy; and second, unlike Clémence Royer who died two months after having been admitted as “full member”, Méliot was able to participate actively in the meetings of the SEP. Nevertheless, except sometimes as the one of the first women to have gained access to the stock exchange, Méliot’s name has been forgotten; I conclude by proposing some reasons why this may have been the case.
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Dates and versions

hal-03953144 , version 1 (23-01-2023)

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  • HAL Id : hal-03953144 , version 1

Cite

Nathalie Sigot. “Breaking the rules: Mathilde Méliot, the first woman member of the French Société d’économie politique". Annual conference of the ’European Society for the History of Economic Thought', European Society for the History of Economic Thought (ESHET), Jun 2022, Padoue / Padova, Italy. ⟨hal-03953144⟩

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