Women and Gender in the French Wars

The Napoleonic Wars

By Dr Louise Carter, published 21st February 2020

In this podcast Dr Louise Carter critically examines the role of women in Britain during the French Revolution. During these wars, women were typically called on for army cooking, laundry, nursing and spying, and as such were considered part of the war machine. While women in the French wars accounted for about six individuals per company, their position remained firmly inferior to that of men.

Though Carter mentions a few women who played prominent roles in Waterloo, and discusses how the lives of these women were changed, it is clear that it would take much longer for the role of women to truly rise to prominence. Overall, the lasting impact of the French wars is argued as being significant for specific females, however on a larger scale it reinforced the existing social order as it pertained to the roles of women.

1. Introduction to women and gender in the French wars
2. Recruitment.
3. Women in war.
4. Women as prisoners.
5. Marriages and liaisons in the field.
6. The officer’s ladies.
7. The aftermath of war: social impact.
8. Changing views of the idea of war.

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