Jeanne Chaton

Jeanne Chaton was a French anti-war and women’s rights activist. She was born in 1899 and detained as a prisoner of war at the age of 14 following the outbreak of World War I.

After being freed from detention in 1917 as part of a prisoner exchange, Chaton spent the remainder of the First World War working for the Red Cross. In 1925 Chaton earned qualifications in teaching and began working while completing further studies in logic, philosophy, sociology, and art history. She advocated for reconciliation between France and Germany through international bodies, worked for French President Édouard Herriot, and was named a representative of the public school system in 1936. During World War II, Chaton was an active member of the French resistance.

She later served in government – often in committees responsible for reform of education, and women’s social justice issues. Notably, Chaton was president of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW), and contributed to the drafting of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. In 1965 she became the representative of France in the UN Commission for the Status of Women. It was during this time that she received a Doctor of Laws honoris causa from UQ – while attending the IFUW XV Triennial Conference in Brisbane – and contributed to the drafting of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Chaton passed away in October 1989.


Doctor of Laws honoris causa