Women’s rights activist Simone Veil, a tireless champion for women’s health and reproductive rights, passed away last week. She was the first woman chosen to be the president of the European Parliament.
At age 16, before her rise to prominence as one of Europe’s most revered public servants, she was captured by Nazi forces and taken to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. After her liberation, she studied political science at Sciences Po and the University of Paris. As a civil servant, she held senior positions at the Ministry of Justice, before being appointed France’s Minister of Health. She was a central figure of the fight for women’s rights in Europe and across the globe.
Madame Veil is to be laid to rest at the Panthéon in Paris among the country’s most admired figures.
She was inducted into the IWF International Hall of Fame at the Awards Gala in San Francisco in 1989.
Watch her induction speech from the event here: