Desiree Veret was seamstress until 1831 when she joined the followers of utopian socialist Henri de Saint-Simon. As a reaction to the exclusion of women making decisions amongst the followers of Saint Simon, she co-founded Tribune des Femmes.
In 1833 she moved to England and became an intermediary between the followers of Robert Owen, the Saint Simonites and Charles Fourier.
Desiree married Jules gay in 1837 and thereafter was known as Desiree Gay.
Following the February Revolution of 1848 she drafted proposals to the French Government to set up workshops, national restaurants and laundries to allow women to be financially independent. Gay went on to work with many active women's groups. In 1849 she withdrew from activism and set up a dressmaking shop.