Louis Frank, pionnier du mouvement féministe belge.

Louis Frank, Pioneer Of The Belgian Feminist Movement: Louis Frank was bom in Brussels on January 22nd, 1864, of Belgian parents, but of Jewish origin. At the University of Brussels he took his degrees of philosophy and law with distinction and great distinction in 1886. In 1888 he published a pamphlet on La femme-avocat (the lady-barrister) : by waving aside all the objections that might have been raised in this connection, he wished to support the entry into the bar of the first Belgian woman doctor of law, Marie Popelin. Confronted with the refusal expressed by the courts of justice, he decided to devote himself to feminism. In February, 1892 his famous Essai sur la condition politique de la femme (Essay on the Political Stituation of Woman) was published, a substantial volume of 600 pages, of paramount importance for the origin of the feminist movement in Belgium : by its scientific value and its moderate tendency it was taken very seriously in the press. This fact partly enabled the Ligue belge du droit des femmes (Belgian League for the Rights of Women), founded by Louis Frank and Marie Popelin in April of the same year, to be general well accepted by the public opinion. Frank led this society as secretary-general while continuing his publications. La femme dans les emplois publics (Woman in Public Office) notably revealed the ardour of his feminist action. In December, 1893 domestic difficulties, due, among other things, to his omnipresence in the League, forced him to leave it. He continued asserting his convictions by articles in L'Indépendance belge (the Belgian Independence), and by lectures in Belgium and abroad. He published successively : Le Grand Catéchisme de la femme (The Great Catechism of Woman), a summary of the feminist question, presented in the form of questions and answers, La femme contre l'alcool (Woman against Alcohol), several bills aiming at eliminating the inequalities of the civil code, L'assurance maternelle (Maternal Assurance), L'Education domestique des jeunes filles (The Domestic Education of Girls). The press commented abundantly upon all these publications. But the progressist ideas of Louis Frank, his exaggerated claims - notably to the Nobel Prize for literature - together with his Jewish descent, finally turned the balance against him. He died, practically forgotten, in 1917.