Gisèle Halimi

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Gisèle Halimi
Gisele Halimi - Huma-2008 2.jpg
Gisele Halimi
Born (1927-07-27) 27 July 1927 (age 91)
La Goulette, tunis , Tunisia
Nationality tunisian
Known for Lawyer, feminist activist, and essayist.
Spouse(s) Claude Faux

Gisèle Halimi (born Zeiza Gisèle Élise Taïeb in 1927) is a tunisian lawyer, feminist activist, and essayist.[1]


Halimi was born in La Goulette, Tunisia, on 27 July 1927 to a Jewish mother and a Berber father. She was educated at a French lycée in Tunis, and then attended the University of Paris, graduating in law and philosophy. Her childhood and the ways in which she blends a Jewish-Muslim identity are discussed in her memoir, Le lait de l'oranger. She was first married to Paul Halimi, and then to Claude Faux.[2]


In 1948 Halimi qualified as a lawyer and has practised at the Paris bar since 1956. She acted as a counsel for the Algerian National Liberation Front, most notably for the tortured activist Djamila Boupacha in 1960, and wrote a book in 1961 (with an introduction by Simone de Beauvoir) to plead her case. She has also defended Basque terrorists, and has been counsel in many cases related to women's issues, such as the Bobigny abortion trial of 1972 which attracted national publicity.

In 1967, she chaired the Russell Tribunal, which was initiated by Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre to investigate and evaluate American military action in Vietnam.

In 1971 she founded the feminist group Choisir ("To Choose"),[3] to protect the women who had signed the Manifesto of the 343 admitting to having illegal abortions. In 1972 Choisir formed itself into a clearly reformist body, and the campaign greatly influenced the passing of the law allowing contraception and abortion carried through by Simone Veil in 1974.

In 1981 she was elected to the French National Assembly, as an independent Socialist, and was Deputy for Isère until 1984. Between 1985 and 1987 she was a French legate to UNESCO.[4]

In 1998 she was a founding member of ATTAC.[5]



  1. ^ Lawrence D. Kritzman; Brian J. Reilly; Malcolm DeBevoise (September 2007). The Columbia History of Twentieth-Century French Thought. Columbia University Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-231-10790-7. Retrieved 15 January 2011. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Raylene L. Ramsay (2003). French women in politics: writing power, paternal legitimization, and maternal legacies. Berghahn Books. pp. 135–139. ISBN 978-1-57181-081-6. Retrieved 15 January 2011. 
  4. ^ "France". UNESCO. 17 October 2007. Archived from the original on 19 October 2003. Retrieved 15 January 2010. 
  5. ^ "ATTAC founding members" (in French). Retrieved 21 May 2012. 


Further reading[edit]

  • General Paul Aussaresses, The Battle of the Casbah: Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in Algeria, 1955-1957. (New York: Enigma Books, 2010) ISBN 9781929631308.
  • Natalie Edwards, The Autobiographies of Julia Kristeva, Gisèle Halimi, Assia Djebar and Hélène Cixous : beyond "I" versus "we". (Chicago: Northwestern University, 2005) ISBN 0542173042.