There is no international salonnière day, so the Public Sphere has decided to make September 15 this day, in recognition of the extraordinary achievements of salonnières past.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, visionary female salonnières created a world of their own, inviting a public into their private homes, forming spaces for discourse and sociability. Their salons contributed to a democratic debate driven public sphere in Europe, fostered community, advanced principles of egalitarianism and promoted ideas and culture in a way that had never before been attempted. The women who ran the salons overcame the barriers they faced deriving from little or no formal education, legal rights, and a lack of intellectual, social or political influence in society. They self-educated in their salons, elevated their status from second-class citizens to venerated members of the public and penetrated the male-dominated world of ideas by independently creating an institution that was at the heart of the intellectual and cultural projects of the time.
Their story is a promise of happiness, a utopian vision realized in certain fundamental ways, a light in history that illuminated the world. Today, we celebrate the beautiful minds and spirits of these women, we sing their unsung victories, in the hopes that the men and women of today will be inspired to continue their legacy. The Public Sphere is committed to keeping their vision alive. We invite you to join our efforts to promote culture, conversation, and ideas, and we will help you realize yours in any way that we can.