Rue De Bruyn becomes Marguerite Coppin: Saint-Josse 'feminises' public space

Rue De Bruyn becomes Marguerite Coppin: Saint-Josse 'feminises' public space
Marguerite Coppin. Credit: Wikipedia

Following a street named after Belgian jurist Marie Popelin, the Brussels municipality of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode is now renaming a road after novelist and poet Marguerite Coppin in an effort to "feminise" the public space.

Saint-Josse wants to make public spaces more inclusive and equal and is reflecting on ways to honour the lives of inspiring women, who are often unknown to the general public. As part of that, more streets are being named after important women.

"This is not just a symbolic gesture. It is a powerful act, a reparation for ignoring women's contribution to our society. A kind of 'Matilda' effect in public space," said Saint-Josse Mayor Emir Kir, referring to the bias against acknowledging the achievements of female scientists whose work is attributed to their male colleagues.

"A street name is an existence and a recognition. In this case, it is the name of a feminist, award-winning poet and novelist, and teacher born in Saint-Josse," he said.

The proposal will be submitted for public investigation for 15 days, for the opinion of the Brussels branch of the Royal Commission on Toponymy and proposed to the City Council to proceed with the name change from Rue De Bruyn to Rue Marguerite Coppin.

Born in Brussels in 1867, Coppin was a Belgian novelist and poet, and became a feminist and pioneer in female emancipation and equal rights for women.

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