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« Elles » (women’s rights week)

« Elles » (women’s rights week) represents a prolongation in Blois of International Women’s Rights Day. Workshops, films, concerts, exhibits and debates are featured in a program highlighting the ongoing fight against discrimination and for equality of the sexes.

grands évènements culturels égalité des droits

Address:Throughout Blois

Organized by: Ville de Blois et associations

The 2019 edition: “Women’s bodies, expression of emancipation”

The 10th edition of “Elles” (women’s week) took place from Thursday 7 March through Sunday 17 March 2019. The theme was chosen by the town, in cooperation with different associations and with recent relevant news in mind. The “Me Too” movement has set the stage for discussion about women’s bodies, about what they represent, and about how they are objectified. “Women’s bodies, expression of emancipation” was consequently the main theme of women’s week in 2019.

A theme of universal import

Women’s rights is a subject that should impel each and every one of us to think and eventually discuss. With that in mind, women’s rights week was open – with no restriction – to the general public. It was also open to different event formats: concerts, theater, cinema, conferences, etc. It was adapted to different tastes and designed to mobilize widespread participation.

The mobilization of Blois-based associations

Women’s rights week was initially created so as to federate associations in Blois around a common subject. In addition to local associations with specialized interest in the theme, a number of non-specialized associations wished to take part, and their energies were enlisted. They contributed different regards and modes of expression, thereby helping to reach a wider and more diversified public.

The feminizing of street names and public infrastructure in Blois

An overwhelming majority of our streets and public spaces bear the names of great men. In Blois (as elsewhere), women are largely and unjustly forgotten. The town wishes to rectify this all-too-common state of affairs by naming some infrastructures after great female figures. In March 2019, many of you put forward your ideas of women’s names. Now it’s time for you to vote for your favorite names (in French).

During the 10th edition, streets were embellished with a series of 25 stickers bearing the effigies of personalities having highlighted the history of women’s rights, from Olympe de Gouges, who in 1791 wrote the declaration of the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen, to the singer Mathilde, who opened the 2019 edition with music. Other persons cited were Clara Zetkin, who in 1910 initiated an annual international woman’s day, George Sand, Marie Curie, Rosa Parks, Simone Veil, Marguerite Yourcenar, Edith Cresson… and Doctor Denis Mukwege, co-Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2018 and specialist in healing women survivors of wartime sexual violence.

Themes from the preceding years

Thematic constants were present from the beginning:

  • in 2017, harassment of women on the street was at the heart of public debate, and the theme was: “the place of women in public space”
  • in 2018, the theme was: “combats in the world for women’s rights”
  • in 2019, the week was about “women’s bodies, expression of emancipation”. The “Me Too” movement opened the way to talk about women’s bodies, of what it represents and how it is objectified.

While these themes did not limit the scope of the events that could be organized, they provided the concerned associations with a connecting thread fostering group-wide emulation.