Most social changes are the result of complex and long-term economic and social processes. This also applies to changes in the legal system and legal norms. Sometimes, however, the presence of a particular person at a particular time and place can have great influence on societal development. In this article we look at a case in which a significant development within the European legal system in particular appears to be attributable to the actions of one single person: Éliane Vogel-Polsky, a Belgian lawyer, academic and feminist who has championed equal rights for women and who was the driving force behind the Defrenne (I, II and III) cases before the European Court of Justice. This ‘equal rights saga’ and the scientific and social activities of Vogel-Polskyhave contributed to ensure that the right to equal pay for equal work and the right to equal treatment within the EU and Member States is firmly anchored. Moreover, as a result of one of these cases the idea of direct effect of European law has been of great influence for the further development of the European legal system.

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Keywords European Court of Justice, Vogel-Polsky, Direct Effect of EU Law, Legal Mobilization, Defrenne case law
ISBN 978-90-13-13088-1
Persistent URL
Havinga, T., & Hoevenaars, J. (2015). Ḗliane Vogel-Polsky En De Realisatie Van Vrouwenrechten: Een Actor Als Factor [Ḗliane Vogel-Polsky and the Realisation of Womens' Rights]. In Rechtspleging en Rechtsbescherming. Retrieved from