Lily Boeykens (1930-2005) was one of the
foremost Flemish feminists in recent history. Since the beginning of the
seventies, she was one of the most important people within the second feminist
She visited the
After a while she decided to quit her paid job and become a full time volunteer for women's causes. She could count on the full support of her husband. Frequently she joked that "the women's movement owed a lot to him".
In 1964, she backed the creation of a Flemish section within the National Women's Council which, at that time, was only French-speaking. Later, as the two sections gained full autonomy, she became president of the Dutch-speaking Women's Council, remaining in this position until 1992.
Lily Boeykens was also among
the founding members of the VOK (Women's Consultative Body). The first Women's
Day, which was attended by well-known feminists such as Simone de Beauvoir and Germaine Greer, was generated to a large
extent through her personal involvement. In the late seventies and the
beginning of the eighties, Lily Boeykens also
co-founded many PAG's (Pluralistic Action Groups for
Equal Opportunities between Men and Women) and maintained close ties with the Dolle Mina groups in
Over the years, Lily Boeykens
was also very active on the international scene. Thus, since the beginning of
the seventies, she has kept close ties with many feminists and women's
movements from around the world, resulting, for example, in the organisation of
the 1976 International Tribunal of Crimes Against
Lily Boeykens established the Belgian UNIFEM committee in 1982 and participated in all great UN women conferences since 1975.
In 1988, Lily Boeykens became president of the International Women's Council, a position for which she was re-elected twice, and which she held until 1994. From 1995 to 1999, she was the Belgian representative to the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) of the United Nations and as such collaborated to the drafting of the Optional Protocol to the CEDAW Convention.