Born Simone Lucie-Ernestine-Marie-Bertrand de Beauvoir in Paris, France, she studied at the Sorbonne where she met lifelong companion Jean-Paul Sartre. In 1981 she wrote A Farewell to Sartre (La Cérémonie des adieux), a painful account of Sartre's last years.
She has come to be seen as the mother of post-1968 feminism, with philosophical writings linked to Sartrian existentialism. She is best known for her work The Second Sex (Le Deuxième Sexe, 1949) which contained detailed analysis of women's oppression.
In The Second Sex, she ascribes women's oppression mainly to the essential sexual differences between men and women, and how they experience sex.
Other major works: She Came to Stay (L'Invitée, 1943); Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter (Memoires d'une jeune fille rangée, 1958).