The result of the name change procedure for the longest tunnel in the country is in! Annie Cordy is the big winner among the 15 candidates presented in an online poll since February 1. More than 43% of the streets of Brussels bear someone's name. The distribution is very unbalanced: only 6,1% of those street names are named after a woman. The other 93,9% refers to a man. This is out of proportion to the role of women in our history. To reverse this dynamic, the Brussels Region has launched a procedure to rename the longest tunnel in the country, the Leopold 2 tunnel. A symbolic change that will certainly be imitated.

women's names

A woman's name, as a starting point to strengthen the position of women in public space. 15 candidates are now in the running, following a call for proposals from citizens and the deliberation of a committee of experts. The committee of experts selected 10 candidates from the submitted proposals:

  • Andrée De Jongh: ambulance driver, resistance fighter and founder of an escape network during the Second World War.
  • Rosa Parks: activist, icon of the civil rights movement in the United States
  • Chantal Akerman: filmmaker, figurehead of modern Belgian cinema.
  • Isala Van Diest: first female surgeon in Belgium.
  • Marguerite Yourcenar: writer and first wife elected to the Académie française.
  • Wangari Maathai: Environmentalist and politician, the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Marie Curie: scientist, Nobel Prize in physics (1903) and chemistry (1911).
  • Semira Adamou: activist, embodied women's struggle for dignity and resistance to inhumane asylum and migration policies.
  • Simone Veil: French politician, initiator of the law decriminalizing voluntary interruption of pregnancy.  
  • Sophie Kanza: First Congolese woman to obtain a university degree and hold a ministerial post in the new Democratic Republic of Congo.

The top 5 of the entries from Brussels residents:

  • Marie Popelin: the first female doctor of law in Belgium. Voted for equal rights for women and men.
  • Annie Cordy: talented artist, singer, dancer and grand artist.
  • Astrid van België: wife of Leopold III and mother of three young children, died in a car accident at the age of 29.
  • Elisabeth of Belgium: became queen in 1909. This independent woman was a patron of the arts and sciences.
  • Antoinette Spaak: politician, first woman to become chair of a party in Belgium.

Citizens can vote for their favorite candidate from 1 February until the end of the month, via the Brussels Mobility website:

Read also: The Westerscheldetunnel toll will still be maintained

Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks: activist, icon of the civil rights movement in the United States
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