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September 2022
Brussels 4th edition

Matrimony : Tangible or intangible good of artistic or historical importance inherited from women

Figures

For each edition of the Matrimony Days, several women* who have marked the history of Belgium are honored on the event's posters. Here is the opportunity to discover or rediscover these figures of our matrimonial heritage !

Matrimony Days 2020

Cécile Douard

1866 - 1941

Belgian blind artist, writer, philanthropist, president of the Ligue Braille. Blind Belgian artist, writer, philanthropist, president of the Ligue Braille. Cécile Douard was born on 29 December 1866 and died on 14 January 1941. In her works she depicted the hard life of the miners of the Borinage, their wives and children. Following a fall during a flood of the Trouille, which drowned her studio in 1892, she lost an eye. From 1898, she gradually lost her sight. In 1899, she became totally blind and started to learn Braille writing. She devoted herself to studying the violin and won a first prize at the Royal Conservatory of Mons. She also devoted herself to sculpture. She teaches French literature, English and art history. Cécile Douard was actively involved in the Ligue Braille from its creation in 1922, and was its president from 1926 to 1937, contributing greatly to the reputation of this institution in Belgium and abroad.

Matrimony Days 2021

Denise De Weerdt

1930 - 2015

Historian, librarian, and co-founder of the Suzan Daniel Fund, gay/lesbian archive and documentation center. Denise De Weerdt was born in a socialist worker family in Ghent and was a member of the Movement of Young Socialists herself. She became a social science teacher after obtaining a degree in contemporary history at Ghent University and a PhD in philosophy and humanities. She then spent most of her career at the Royal Library of Belgium, of which she eventually became head curator.

Matrimony Days 2020

Françoise Mallet-Joris

1930 - 2016

Author of novels, women's biographies, plays and lyrics by French singers. Author of novels, women's biographies, plays and lyrics for French singers. Born on 6 July 1930 and died on 13 August 2016, Françoise Mallet-Joris (her pen name) was a prolific author of some thirty novels and biographies (of women), a few plays, and a well-known lyricist. She published her first work at the age of 16, Poème du dimanche, and at 21 she published her first lesbian novel, Le Rempart des Béguines, under her new pseudonym. She was a member of the Académie Goncourt from 1971 to 2011. She joined the Royal Academy of French Language and Literature of Belgium in 1993 and remained there until her death.

Matrimony Days 2019

Isabelle Blume

1892 - 1975

Feminist, politician, résistance fighter, teacher. Isabelle Blume was a very active résistance fighter during the First World War. After the war, she started her studies to become a social worker and got closer to the Brussels socialist circles. She quickly got engaged in the fight for women’s rights, in particular for the right to vote or access to birth control. Her political career started in 1932 when she became a city councilor in Uccle. She was later elected as a socialist member of parliament, where she was one of the only two elected women.

Matrimony Days 2021

Judith (Dita) Roque-Gourary

1915 - 2010

Architect and founder of the Union of Women Architects in Belgium. Dita Roque-Gourary studied engineering and architecture in Vienna until 1937, when an internship brought her to Belgium. One year later, forced to leave Austria definitively, she settled in Brussels where she finished her studies at La Cambre. The Second World War forced her to put her career on hold. In 1949, she created her own architecture office specialized in renovating 19th- and 20th- century buildings.

Matrimony Days 2020

Lou Bertot-Marissal

1915 - 2003

Belgian graphic designer, architect, interior designer. Belgian graphic designer, architect and interior designer. Born on 19 June 1915 and died in 2003, Lou taught at the Institut supérieur des arts décoratifs in Brussels from 1942 to 1980. During her career, she made a name for herself mainly through the construction and decoration of stands. At the 1939 World's Fair in New York, she designed three stands for the Belgian pavilion. She also designed no less than eight pavilions at Expo 1958 in Brussels. One of these pavilions, the 'Electric House', was designed in collaboration with the architect Jaques Dupuis. She won a gold medal for this project.

Matrimony Days 2021

Marguerite Bervoets

1914 - 1944

Teacher, poet and Résistance fighter during the Second World War. Marguerite Bervoets started the publication of the underground weekly magazine La Délivrance as early as 1941, while also working as a schoolteacher in Tournai.  For months, she participated in pilot exfiltrations and took part in a series of résistance activities. Marguerite Bervoets was captured and sentenced to death in 1942. Several public spaces in Mons honor her today.

Matrimony Days 2019

Marie Janson

1873 - 1960

Politician, senator, feminist. She came from a well-known Belgian political family. Marie Janson was the first Belgian woman to become a senator, which was only made possible thanks to several changes in legislation. She entered the political arena with her youngest son, Paul-Henri Spaak, at the end of the First World War. She became a member of the Belgian Workers’ Party. In 1921, Marie Janson was elected in the municipality of Saint-Gilles, where she worked for several years.

Matrimony Days 2019

Neel Doff

1858 - 1942

Model, writer, activist. Neel Doof quickly got engaged in socialism and arduously defended the cause of the most destitute workers. In 1911 she wrote her first book, Jours de famine et détresse [English: Days of Hunger and Distress], a mostly autobiographical novel. She then wrote several other autobiographical fiction novels, all highly acclaimed. The literary quality and realism of her work were often highlighted.

Matrimony Days 2021

Nele Marian

1906 - 2015

Belgian-Congolese writer, reporter and poet. Nele Marian worked mostly during the interwar years. She is also one of the first public poets of African origin in the country. Not much more is known about her (except that her work is preserved at the Archive and Research Center for Women's History) because of the classic historical erasure that befell women artists. One of her most well-known poems, Banjo, published in 1936, alludes to the suffering of the black diaspora in Europe.

Matrimony Days 2019

Odette Filippone

1927 - 2002

Architect. Born in Etterbeek in 1927, Odette Filippone is what we call a true woman of Brussels. She worked on many architecture projects in the capital and notably participated in Expo 58. She was also a member of the “Baucher-Blondel-Filippone” architecture office. Odette Filippone is one of the first ten women to obtain a degree in architecture at La Cambre.

Matrimony Days 2019

Simone Guillissen-Hoa

1916 - 1996

Architect born to a Chinese father and a Polish mother in Beijing in 1916. Simone Guillissen-Hoa was one of the first women to obtain a degree in architecture in Belgium. She graduated from La Cambre (ULB Faculty of Architecture) in 1938. She is considered one of the most talented architects of the second modernist trend in the immediate post-war era in Belgium. She helped design, in particular, the Tournai Maison de la Culture (arts center) or a student residence in Louvain-la-Neuve.

Matrimony Days 2021

Sophie Kanza

1940 - 1999

Sociologist, politician and the first Congolese women to hold a governmental position in the DRC. Sophie Kanza was also the first Congolese women to attend secondary school. Incidentally, she was the only one to have received secondary education when Congo became independent. In 1966, she was named Minister of Social Affairs, a position she held until 1970. Throughout her term, Sophie Kanza advocated for equal opportunities for girls and boys.

Matrimony Days 2020

Yvonne Jospa

1910 - 2000

Jewish Bessarabic communist resistance fighter, anti-racist activist and founder of the Committee for the Defence of Jews. Jewish Bessarabic communist resistance fighter, anti-racist activist and founder of the Committee for the Defence of Jews. Born on 3 February 1910, died on 20 January 2000. With her husband, Hertz Jospa, they were active from 1936 in the Belgian branch of the League against Racism and Anti-Semitism. She participated in the sheltering of refugee children following the Spanish Civil War. In September 1942, she and her husband founded the secret association of the Committee for the Protection of Jews, which saved thousands of Jewish children from deportation.

L'architecture qui dégenre
L'Ilot
Université Libre de Belgique
Vlaams Architectuurinstituut
La Ville de Bruxelles
Tour à Plomb
Commune de Saint-Gilles
Urban.Brussels
Equal.Brussels
Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles
Commission Communautaire française
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