In Memoriam: Mireille Jospin Dandieu

ISSN 0256-5004 (Print)

AIMS Journal Vol 14 No 4

  • Midwife and energetic campaigner
  • Born 1910
  • Married 1930 Robert Jospin (died 1990; two sons, two daughters)
  • Died La Celle-St-Cloud, France, 6 December 2002

Mireille Jospin-Dandieu's extraordinary life received little attention outside of her native France, apart from mention of the death of the mother of the former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin. She was a patron of the euthanasia campaign The Association for the Right to Die with Dignity, and chose the timing of her death for herself. Her family announced that she had "decided in serenity to leave life behind".

She was born Mireille Dandieu, a metalworker's daughter, and lost her own mother in her early teens. After training as a midwife in Paris in the late 1920s, she was still active in her profession more than 60 years later, having made the welfare of women foremost among the array of causes to which she dedicated her life. She was a keen supporter of Simone Veil's campaign to end back-street abortions and also fought against traditional female genital mutilation.

Pacifism was a principle she shared with her schoolteacher husband Robert Jospin, whom she married in 1930. Her pacifist convictions dated from her adolescent years, when the Versailles settlement did not take long to produce evidently nefarious effects in vanquished Germany. Amnesty International and Greenpeace gained from her formidable energy, as did the child-centred solidarity movement ATD Quart Monde.

As recently as March 2001, Mireille Jospin-Dandieu was a candidate on a left- wing list in the municipal elections, and took to the streets with her colleagues, demanding statutory recognition of midwifery as a profession under French law, not just a sideline in nursing. On the outbreak of the Gulf War in 1991, she went on peace demonstrations against the policies of the Paris government in which her elder son was already a cabinet minister.

Five years earlier, aged 86, Jospin-Dandieu travelled to the village of Nyema in Mali to spend a month training midwives, having first secured the signatures of her children that they agreed not to waste money bringing her body home should she happen to die in the effort. She was still driving her own car in her ninth decade and, apart from her more public works, retained among her lifelong enthusiasms music, Bible reading and rugby.

The AIMS Journal spearheads discussions about change and development in the maternity services..

AIMS Journal articles on the website go back to 1960, offering an important historical record of maternity issues over the past 60 years. Please check the date of the article because the situation that it discusses may have changed since it was published. We are also very aware that the language used in many articles may not be the language that AIMS would use today.

To contact the editors, please email:

We make the AIMS Journal freely available so that as many people as possible can benefit from the articles. If you found this article interesting please consider supporting us by becoming an AIMS member or making a donation. We are a small charity that accepts no commercial sponsorship, in order to preserve our reputation for providing impartial, evidence-based information. You can make donations at Peoples Fundraising. To become an AIMS member or join our mailing list see Join AIMS

AIMS supports all maternity service users to navigate the system as it exists, and campaigns for a system which truly meets the needs of all.

Latest Content


« »

Report of Parliamentary Debate on B…

AIMS Journal, 2024, Vol 36, No 1 By Elle Gundry The first parliamentary debate on birth trauma took place in the House of Commons on Thursday 19th October 2023. [1] Thank…

Read more

Doulas supporting clients to make a…

AIMS Journal, 2024, Vol 36, No 1 By Anne Glover I work with women from all walks of life, but one thing that is important to them all, is having a positive and satisfying…

Read more

My Complaint

AIMS Journal, 2024, Vol 36, No 1 Editor’s note: In this quite shocking account of disrespect and neglect, Grace describes the arrival of her first baby. With Grace’s perm…

Read more


« »

MaMA conference - 26/ 27 April 2024

MaMa Conference is the largest & longest running annual midwifery & maternity conference in the UK. Over the past 12 amazing years we have created an original and unique…

Read more

AIMS Workshop: The Foundation Stone…

Join us for an interactive online AIMS workshop: " The Foundation Stones for Supporting the Physiological Process in Pregnancy and Birth ". In this workshop discussion we…

Read more

Annual Birth Trauma Summit

Read more

Latest Campaigns

« »

What are the priorities for midwife…

AIMS is proud to be supporting the RCM's Research Prioritisation project as a Project Partner and with one of our volunteers on the Steering Group…

Read more

Parliamentary Inquiry into Birth Tr…

Introduction to AIMS and why AIMS is making a submission Since 1960, AIMS has been the leading advocate for improvements in UK maternity care. We have national and intern…

Read more

BICS Conference poster: AIMS Campai…

AIMS Campaigns Team volunteers are presenting a poster about our campaign for Physiology-Informed Maternity Services at the 2023 conference of the British Intrapartum Car…

Read more