Motivated by the observation that, in Luxembourg as a whole, the number of streets named after women is far fewer than those named after men, the "Affichons l'égalité" gender equality initiative, launched by the Conseil national des femmes du Luxembourg (National Women's Council of Luxembourg), seeks to raise public and political awareness of the need to increase the visibility of deserving women in the public space. As such, the City of Luxembourg has decided to assign symbolic names to six of the city's busiest streets and one of its most popular squares.
The City of Luxembourg – which is intent on shaping a fairer and more equal society – acknowledges that equality between women and men, and girls and boys, is a fundamental right, and that the many forms of discrimination and obstacles people face must be taken into account to achieve gender equality in all spheres of life. To this end, the City has formulated a multi-year action plan setting out guidelines for the implementation of its policy on gender equality, based on the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life. For the day-to-day implementation of this policy, the City is supported by a Gender Equality Officer – whose role is to ensure that the policy is structured and sustainable – and its Commission consultative pour l'égalité entre femmes et hommes (Advisory Committee on Gender Equality).
College of the Mayor and Aldermen
Commission consultative pour l'égalité entre femmes et hommes (only in French)
Rue Dr Marie-Paule Molitor-Peffer
Dr Marie-Paule Molitor-Peffer (1929–1999)
After completing her studies in medicine – a field in which there were few women at the time – Marie-Paule Peffer went on to gain renown for her work in promoting the modernisation of sex education, access to contraceptives, and the decriminalisation of abortion. With a specialisation in gynaecology, she addressed a number of issues that were considered taboo in Luxembourg society, and spoke out against violence against women in her many writings on the subject (letters to editors, academic publications, position papers, etc.). In 1965, Marie-Paule Peffer founded the Family Planning association, whose head office is located in Luxembourg City.
Rue Elsy Jacobs
Elsy Jacobs (1933–1998)
At a time when women were largely excluded from organised sports, Elsy Jacobs from Pfaffenthal dedicated herself to establishing women’s professional cycling. Despite not having been issued a sports license, she would show up at road cycling races in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. After being regularly excluded from these events, she was eventually offered a contract with a French racing team. In 1958, she won the first cycling world championship for women. In all, she won the title of Luxembourg women’s road racing champion 15 times and took part in 1,059 races, of which she won 301.
Rue Helen Buchholtz
Helen Buchholtz (1877–1953)
Born into well-off family, Charlotte Helena Buchholtz was privately tutored in piano, violin and solfège from an early age. At a time when there were no music academies in Luxembourg, young Charlotte learnt music on her own. She would go on to become Luxembourg's first female composer. Over the course of a lifetime devoted mainly to teaching music, Charlotte Helena Buchholtz composed 139 pieces, of which only a tenth were published. She lived in Luxembourg City until her death.
Rue Joséphine Jacquemart-Jaans
Joséphine Jacquemart-Jaans (1890–1988)
Sports had always played a major role in Joséphine Jaans's life. After resigning from her job as a gymnastics teacher because of an accident, young Joséphine continued to be actively involved in promoting female participation in sports. In 1925, she founded the Fédération Luxembourgeoise des Sports Féminins (Luxembourg Women's Sports Federation), and was instrumental in making basketball the most popular women's sport in Luxembourg. In 1937, the life-long sports enthusiast organised the third Federal Female Gymnastics Festival (Fête fédérale de la Gymnastique Féminine). During the Second World War, in an act of bravery, she joined the Resistance movement with her son. She was arrested in 1941 and spent two years in prison. After the war, Joséphine Jaans became involved with the National Lottery and remained an active athlete until the age of 95.
Place Lily Unden
Lily Unden (1908–1989)
When the First World War broke out, young Lily Unden and her family moved to the Mühlenbach district in Luxembourg City. After earning a degree in Fine Arts, she became a painter and joined the Cercle Artistique Luxembourgeois, where she regularly exhibited her paintings and drawings. As a member of the Resistance, Lily Unden was arrested in 1942 and deported to the Ravensbrück concentration camp. After she was freed, she moved to New York to further her art training, and after she returned to Luxembourg, she taught art at various schools. She also wrote poetry, in which she recounted her memories of the time she spent as a prisoner of war. In addition to the many honours she received for her role in the Resistance, Lily Unden was awarded the Actioun Lëtzebuergesch Dicks-Rodange-Lentz Silver Plaque.
Rue Lise Rischard-Meyer
Lise Rischard-Meyer (1868–1940)
Lise Meyer and her husband, Camille Rischard, were living on Boulevard Royal in Luxembourg City when she decided to visit her son in Paris before he was conscripted into the army. While stuck in the French capital, she met the British officers Captain George Bruce and Captain Lewis Campbell, who offered to arrange for her to return to Luxembourg, provided that she agree to work for the British intelligence services. She subsequently went on to set up a spy ring to observe and report on German rail movements during the First World War. Lise Rischard gathered valuable information on the German troops' activities, which she forwarded to the Allied secret services in code. After the war, Lise Meyer was awarded the War Cross Medal with palm leaves (Croix de guerre avec palmes) and made Commander of the British Empire.
Avenue Liliane Thorn-Petit
Liliane Thorn-Petit (1933–2008)
After completing her studies in the humanities in Paris, Liliane Petit began a career as a journalist. She wrote for a number of periodicals, including the Lëtzebuerger Journal, d’Lëtzebuerger Land, Le Jeudi, Le Républicain lorrain, and the Belgian edition of Paris Match. She also worked for the RTL group's Luxembourg radio broadcasting service and French television channel, for which she produced the programme Portraits d’artistes. In 1957, she married the politician Gaston Thorn, and a few years later she co-founded the National Women's Council of Luxembourg (Conseil national des femmes du Luxembourg and the Association of Liberal Women (Association des femmes libérales).