French Female Intellectuals & Academics

Right IconThis ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite French Female Intellectuals & Academics
 1 
Simone de Beauvoir
(French Existentialist Philosopher, Writer, Social Theorist, and Feminist Activist)
Simone de Beauvoir
13
Birthdate: January 9, 1908
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 14, 1986
French author and existentialist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir is best remembered for her feminist treatise The Second Sex and her novels The Mandarins and She Came to Stay. Her literary contributions also include essays, biographies, and her autobiographical works. She won the Prix Goncourt and the Jerusalem Prize.
 2 
Simone Weil
(French Mystic, Social Philosopher and Resistance Activist During World War II)
Simone Weil
5
Birthdate: February 3, 1909
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: August 24, 1943
Paris-born philosopher and activist Simone Weil could speak in Sanskrit and Greek as a student. Called The Martian by her classmates, due to her peculiar nature, she died of cardiac failure at 34, refusing to eat more than the people of German-occupied France, in spite of being diagnosed with tuberculosis. 
 3 
Esther Duflo
(American-French Economist)
Esther Duflo
4
Birthdate: October 25, 1972
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France

Esther Duflo is a French–American economist. She is credited with co-founding the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, a global research center that works towards reducing poverty worldwide. In 2019, she shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Michael Kremer and Abhijit Banerjee for their efforts to reduce poverty.

 4 
France Nuyen
(Actress)
France Nuyen
4
Birthdate: July 31, 1939
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Marseille, France
 5 
Émilie du Châtelet
4
Birthdate: December 17, 1706
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 10, 1749
 6 
Héloïse
(French Nun and Wife of the Theologian and Philosopher 'Peter Abelard')
Héloïse
3
Birthdate: 1101 AD
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 16, 1164
French nun Héloïse was also a philosopher, writer, and abbess and was a renowned "woman of letters". She was noted as a  philosopher of love and friendship. In 1147, she was granted the rank of prelate nullius, approximately the level of a bishop. Her surviving letters are considered a foundation of French and European literature and inspiration for courtly love.
 7 
Elisabeth Maxwell
(Researcher)
Elisabeth Maxwell
4
Birthdate: March 11, 1921
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: La Grive, France
Died: August 7, 2013
 8 
Hélène Cixous
(French Feminist Writer and Philosopher Best Known for Her Article ‘The Laugh of the Medusa’)
Hélène Cixous
4
Birthdate: June 5, 1937
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Oran, Algeria

Hélène Cixous is a professor, poet, playwright, rhetorician, literary critic, philosopher, and French feminist writer. She is best known for writing an article titled The Laugh of the Medusa, which earned her popularity and established her as a thinker in post-structural feminism.

 9 
Emmanuelle Charpentier
4
Birthdate: December 11, 1968
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Juvisy-sur-Orge, France
 10 
Luce Irigaray
(Philosopher, linguist, Feminist)
Luce Irigaray
3
Birthdate: May 3, 1930
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bernissart, Belgium
 11 
Charles Fourier
(French Philosopher Who was One of the Founders of Utopian Socialism)
Charles Fourier
5
Birthdate: April 7, 1772
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Besançon, France
Died: October 10, 1837

French social theorist Charles Fourier is regarded as one of the pioneers of utopian socialism. Apart from advocating social reconstruction based on phalanges, or Fourierism, he is also credited with coining the term feminism with respect to women’s rights. The Social Destiny of Man remains one of his notable works.

 12 
Germaine de Staël
(Philosopher)
Germaine de Staël
4
Birthdate: April 22, 1766
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: July 14, 1817

Germaine de Staël was a French political theorist and woman of letters. She is best remembered for her collaboration with the popular  Swiss-French political thinker Benjamin Constant. Germaine, who was way ahead of her time, is widely regarded as a precursor of feminism.

 13 
Julia Kristeva
(Bulgarian-French Author and Academic Whose Themes Surrounded on Feminism, Semiotics, and Psychoanalysis)
Julia Kristeva
11
Birthdate: June 24, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sliven, Bulgaria

Bulgarian-born French author and literary critic Julia Kristeva is also a professor at the University Paris Diderot. Her writings, such as the Female Genius trilogy, are centered around feminism, semiotics, and psychoanalysis. She has also pioneered semanalysis and has been recognized with honors such as Commander of the Legion of Honor.

 14 
Fred Vargas
(French Historian, Archaeologist and Novelist Known for Her Work on the 'Black Death')
Fred Vargas
3
Birthdate: June 7, 1957
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France

Fred Vargas is a French archaeologist, historian, and novelist. She is best known for her work on the bubonic plague, the Black Death. In 2009, she became the first author to win three International Dagger Awards for three consecutive novels, having won the award in 2006 and 2008. In 2018, she was honored with the prestigious Princess of Asturias Prize.

 15 
Rose Valland
(Historian)
Rose Valland
3
Birthdate: November 1, 1898
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Saint-Étienne-de-Saint-Geoirs, Isère, France
Died: September 18, 1980

Rose Valland was a French art historian and a captain in the French military. She secretly recorded the details of the Nazis destroying and plundering French art and helped to save thousands of works of art by working with the French Resistance. After the war, she began a relationship with Joyce Helen Heer and shared a home with her. 

 16 
Élisabeth Badinter
(Philosopher)
Élisabeth Badinter
4
Birthdate: March 5, 1945
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, France

An ardent advocate of liberal feminism and also of the rights of women migrant workers, Élisabeth Badinter is an eminent French philosopher. Also a prolific author, she has published several works including L'Amour en plus ear, L'un est l'autre and La fausse route, raising contentious questions through them. Also a staunch supporter of French secularism, she supported Islamic scarf ban  

 17 
Helene Rytmann
(Louis Althusser's Wife)
Helene Rytmann
2
Birthdate: October 15, 1910
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: November 16, 1980

Helene Rytmann was a French sociologist and revolutionary who played an important role in the French Resistance. Widely regarded as a historically important Jewish woman, Helene Rytmann was murdered by her husband Louis Althusser. The case was never properly investigated and the scandal of Rytmann's murder inspired the 2002 novel Shroud which was written by Irish novelist William John Banville.

 18 
Julia Cagé
(Economist)
Julia Cagé
2
Birthdate: February 17, 1984
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Metz, France

French economist Julia Cagé specializes in political economy, industrial organization and economic history.  An Assistant Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics at Sciences Po Paris, she is also a research affiliate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and the Co-director of the "Evaluation of Democracy" research group of the Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Public Policies.  

 19 
Catherine Malabou
(Philosopher)
Catherine Malabou
3
Birthdate: June 18, 1959
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Sidi Bel Abbès, France
 20 
Anne Pingeot
(Art Historian)
Anne Pingeot
2
Birthdate: May 13, 1943
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Clermont-Ferrand, France

Anne Pingeot is a French art historian who specializes in 19th-century French sculpture. Pingeot, who is credited with writing several catalogs and books on French sculpture, served as the curator of the department of sculpture in popular museums like the Musée d'Orsay and the Louvre. Anne Pingeot was also the mistress of former President of France, François Mitterrand.

 21 
Evelyne Pisier
(Political scientist)
Evelyne Pisier
2
Birthdate: October 18, 1941
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hanoi, French Indochina
Died: February 9, 2017
 22 
Stefanie Stantcheva
2
Birthplace: Bulgaria

Stefanie Stantcheva is a French economist currently working as a professor of economics at Harvard University. Her research mainly focuses on public finance, and she is a member of the French Council of Economic Analysis. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Political Economy and the American Economic Review. She received the Elaine Bennett Research Prize in 2020. 

 23 
Adele Van Reeth
(Philosopher)
Adele Van Reeth
2
Birthdate: December 16, 1982
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: France
 24 
Bracha L. Ettinger
2
Birthdate: March 23, 1948
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

An M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger initially worked as psychoanalyst in Israel and England. Although self taught, she later decided to become a professional artist, eventually moving to Paris, where along with painting, drawing and photography, she also started writing and began serving as visiting professor at various European and Asian universities.

 25 
Eliane Karp
(Anthropologist)
Eliane Karp
2
Birthdate: September 24, 1953
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France

Born to a Polish father and a Belgian mother in Paris, anthropologist and academic Eliane Karp later studied in Jerusalem, before moving to Stanford. The wife of former president of Peru Alejandro Toledo, she was dragged out of court, while cursing, after Toledo was denied bail in a bribery case.

 26 
Olivette Otele
(Historian)
Olivette Otele
1
Birthdate: 1970 AD
Birthplace: Cameroon

Olivette Otele is a historian currently serving as the Professor of the History of Slavery at Bristol University. She is the first black woman to hold a professorial chair in history in the United Kingdom. She has academic degrees from Bath Spa University and the University of Bristol. She was named on the BBC 100 Women 2018 List

 27 
Jane Dieulafoy
(Archaeologist)
Jane Dieulafoy
1
Birthdate: June 29, 1851
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Toulouse, France
Died: May 25, 1916
 28 
Barbara Cassin
(Philologist)
Barbara Cassin
0
Birthdate: October 24, 1947
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Boulogne-Billancourt, France
Laure Junot, Duchess of Abrantès
1
Birthdate: November 6, 1784
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Montpellier, France
Died: June 7, 1838
Christiane Desroches Noblecourt
0
Birthdate: November 17, 1913
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: June 23, 2011
 31 
Marie-Cécile Zinsou
(Art historian and entrepreneur)
Marie-Cécile Zinsou
0
Birthdate: 1982 AD
Birthplace: Paris, France