Marital Status and the Visibility of Female Researchers: The Women of the Musée de l’Homme in the Press (1928-1970)

University of Western Australia, Australia

Many women can be found amongst the researchers who studied archaeological and ethnological material culture at the Musée de l’Homme in Paris. A few of them have been historically remembered within their disciplines, but most have disappeared into oblivion. At what stage in the construction of the historical narrative of their discipline did they disappear, and why is the contribution of some women remembered, whilst that of others forgotten? In an attempt to answer this question, I analysed the acknowledgement of female researchers in press clippings from the Musée de l’Homme archives, kept at the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle. I identified three different marital statuses having a different impact on women’s visibility in the public eye: the unmarried, the married, and the specific case of women in a “2 persons single career”, which are women married to a researcher in the same field. Beyond providing insights into the historical impact of marriage on women’s careers, this presentation will contribute to a better understanding of why women become invisible in media representation, and how this contributes in the process of their oblivion.