Emilienne Brunfaut


Portrait of Emilienne BrunfautEmilienne Brunfaut, born Emilienne Steux (1908-1986), was a Belgian socialist trade union leader. She was born in a worker's family and lost her mother at the age of five. Her father was a militant labourer and she followed in his footsteps.


In 1924 she married. After her first child died the couple divorced. In 1927 Steux became the secretary of the Textile Syndicate of which her father was the president. A few years later she participated in the general strikes (1932) and against the Rutten-proposal that would limit the participation of women in labour (1934).


Emilienne Brunfaut at a women's conferenceShe became the first female Belgian delegate to a conference of the International Labour Organization (1935) on behalf of the textile workers. In Geneva she met Marguerite Thibert, a French ILO official, who played an important part in her feminist engagement.


After the war she remained active for the feminist cause, becoming co-founder of the Rassemblement des Femmes pour la Paix (1947).


Brunfaut was present at the first Belgian Women's Day in 1972, talking about the working conditions of women. In 1975 she became the French speaking president of the Belgian National Committee for International Women's Year, together with the Dutch speaking Lucienne Heman-Michielsens.



Stamp catalogue


Belgium                               10 March 1990









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last revised: 27 February 2010