March is Women’s History Month, a time to honour women in history who have fought for equal rights
In honour of Women’s History Month 2023, five sets of documents prepared by the Historical Archives of the European Union are currently displayed at the “Purple Corner” just inside the Library entrance.
Four of them contain documents relating to four women named below, who played active roles in women’s rights and women’s emancipation in Western Europe after WW II.
What is truly remarkable is their genuine devotion, full commitment, endless work, immense patience and unselfish courage.
Fausta Deshormes La Valle was a journalist and law graduate, fiercely supportive of the European integration process, and creator of the first European Documentation Centres, now present in more than 400 universities. Founder of the Women's Press and Information Service, and Director, in 1992 she was named honorary member of the European Commission. She can be considered as one of the "Mothers of Europe".
Simone Veil, lawyer, politician and feminist, served as France’s Health Minister between 1974 and 1979. She was then elected President of European Parliament, making her the first President of a directly-elected Parliament and its first female President. She is admired for both her political and personal courage, having survived the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
Ursula Hirschmann was involved in the anti-fascist movement during WWII, and managed to smuggle entotene Manifesto "for a free and united Europe" into mainland Italy and helped to disseminate it. Co-founder of the Movimento Federalista Europeo in 1943, Hirschmann fled to Switzerland and became involved in organising the first international federalist congress in Paris in 1945. Hirschmann’s political commitment did not end after the Second World War. In 1975, she founded the Femmes pour l’Europe association in Brussels.
Yvonne de Wergifosse was a diplomat, and in 1962 she became Secretary General of the non-governmental organisation, European League for Economic Cooperation; and later President of International Women’s Commission of the European Movement.
The fifth set of documents describe the origins of gender/women studies at the EUI, the people involved and the topics discussed.