This year, Belgian Post honored this special day by issuing a pair of stamps titled ‘Belgian Women in Action’. It has chosen two Belgian personalities of the feminist movement, Marthe Boël and Lily Boeykens, on its two stamps. Great thanks to Thomas for helping me to add these gorgeous stamps to my collection.
Marthe Boël (1877-1956) was of noble birth. She enjoyed an excellent upbringing – which did not go without saying for a girl in her era – and in 1898 married industrialist Pol Boël (1868-1941). In her new home La Louvière she devoted herself to works of charity. The First World War stopped all that. When the Germans dismantled the clandestine postal network she had set up, she served two years in prison. After the war, as an ex-political prisoner Boël was one of the few Belgian women with a vote for parliament. She worked for universal female suffrage through her engagement in the liberal party between the wars. Marthe Boël chaired Belgium’s National Women’s Council (NVB / CNF) from 1934 to 1952, in which capacity she recruited talented young women. Her presidency of the International Council of Women (1936-1947) was dominated by the Second World War. In addition to these commitments Boël was the driving force behind the Belgian branch of the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) and the Girl Guides. (Philanews, Belgian Post)
Lily Boeykens (1930-2005) was a trained lawyer. She married Constant (Stan) Huygelen, who grew famous through the development of vaccines. After a few years in Zaire, she worked in freelance journalism and public relations. In 1964 she became a member of Belgium’s National Women’s Council (NVB / CNF). Chair Maya (Marie-Anne) Janssen – the daughter of Marthe Boël – wished to recruit more Dutchspeaking members and felt that Lily Boeykens was up to the task. She would chair the autonomous NVB (later the Dutch-speaking Women’s Council) she shaped. She also played an important role in the organisation of the first National Women’s Day (11/11/1972), in the early years of the Women’s Consultation Committee and the organisation of the International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women, which led to the establishment of the first women’s shelter in Belgium. Lily Boeykens was also active in the International Council of Women, first on the Mass Media Committee, then as member of the board. Between 1988 and 1994 she was its chair, striving to improve the Council’s professionalism and dynamism. The Belgian government also called on her expertise: Lily Boeykens had a seat on such national advisory bodies as the Women’s Employment Committee and the Consultative Committee on the Status of Women, and was Belgium’s representative to the UN Commission on the Status of Women between 1995 and 1999. (Philanews, Belgian Post)
The second cover that I am sharing with you today is this lovely cover sent by Pedro from Rio de Janeiro in Brasil. Thank you!
Commonly known as just Rio, the city is also nicknamed "Cidade Maravilhosa", or "The Marvelous City". It is one of the most photographed cities in the world and synonym of Brazil for many foreigner tourists. Famous by its unique mountainous coast, its marvelous beaches, its music and the Carnival. Some of the most famous landmarks in addition to the beaches include the giant statue of Jesus, known as Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado mountain, named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; Sugarloaf mountain (Pão de Açúcar) with its cable car; the Sambodromo, a giant permanent parade stand used during Carnival and Maracana stadium, one of the world's largest football stadiums.
Like many other countries, Brasil issued an Ox stamp to commemorate the year of the Ox, which begins January 26, 2009. This stamp can be seen on the cover. This cover travelled halfway round the world (15,648 km!) and took 20 days to reach me.