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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Marie Popelin

b. 1846, Brussels; d. 1913, Brussels

Marie Popelin was the first Belgian woman to earn a law degree (1888) from the Université Libre de Bruxelles but was denied admittance to the bar association of Brussels after petitioning the Court of Appeal (1888) and the Court of Cassation (1889), which upheld rulings that opposed the practice of female attorneys. In 1892, Popelin co-founded the Ligue Belge du Droit des Femmes (Belgian League for the Rights of Women), an organization of 300 members that protested the marital powers of husbands and attacked discriminatory laws. The League published the periodical La Ligue and organized meetings of the International Feminist Congress in 1897 and 1912.