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Contraception gave women freedom, says Dawn French

Dawn French has said women still deserve ‘greater respect’ (Matt Crossick/PA)

The comedian credited her mother with being one of her biggest inspirations.


Dawn French has hailed contraception as the greatest change in women’s lives in the last century, while reflecting on the need for greater respect for women.

The actress and comedian is best known for playing the lead role of Geraldine Granger in the popular BBC sitcom The Vicar Of Dibley.

Speaking to Good Housekeeping, French said contraception “gave women the freedom to have pleasure in their lives, but also to be in control of how their futures pan out”.

While reflecting on the last century as part of Good Housekeeping’s 100th-anniversary issue, French also considered the change she still hopes to see women achieve.

She said: “Greater respect. There would be equal pay if women had respect, and you would be believed about abuse.

“Women deserve respect for so many reasons because we are mighty. We’re starting to be heard more – and that needs to continue.”

The Vicar Of Dibley saw French’s character Granger appointed as a vicar after changes made to the Church of England permitted the ordination of women.

French played a female vicar in the hit BBC sitcom The Vicar Of Dibley (BBC/PA)

Bafta-nominated French credited her mother, Felicity Roma, as one of her biggest inspirations in life.

“She was a pioneer when it came to changing the lives of young women with drug and alcohol issues, and she founded a recovery centre in Plymouth called Trevi House. Alone as a widow from a very young age, she was strong and fearless. If I had a quarter of her strength, I’d be grateful,” explained French.


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