Honorary membership awards

November 25, 2022, former LOVA co-chairs Gerdien Steenbeek and Annelou Ypeij have been awarded a Duo Honorary Membership of LOVA. It was presented to them during the retirement party of Gerdien Steenbeek at the Department of Cultural Anthropology of Utrecht University. Gerdien had worked there as Senior Lecturer for nearly forty years, teaching many generations of students in various study programmes in Anthropology as well in a university-wide Bachelor’s programme in Liberal Arts and Sciences. Annelou, who is a close friend of Gerdien, had helped to organise the retirement meeting and had retired from her job as Senior Lecturer at the Center for Latin American Research and Documentation (CEDLA) of the University of Amsterdam in August 2020. Because of corona pandemic, only an informal farewell party could be organised for Annelou at that time.


Gerdien and Annelou both have been active in LOVA since the mid-1980s when they were students in anthropology and got involved in organising various LOVA meetings at their university, at Utrecht University for Gerdien and the University of Amsterdam for Annelou. When in 1995 LOVA was reorganised from an informal network and platform into a formal association Gerdien became a board member with the responsibility of organising annual LOVA Study Days. In 1998 Annelou took over Gerdien’s position on the LOVA board. From July 2001 to October 2002 Gerdien first and Annelou as her successor fulfilled the chair position in the LOVA board because of illness of then-chair Karin Willemse and from June 2004 to June 2010 they acted as co-chairs. 

At the start of the retirement party, Gerdien and Annelou entered the hall of festivities surrounded by eight senior LOVA members, four of which received honourary membership previously: Joke Schrijvers in 2002, José van Santen in 2004, Willy Jansen in 2011, Marion den Uyl in 2012.

First, Annelou and Gerdien, then in the second picture, Tine Davids and Irene Arends, 2nd row Lorraine Nencel and Joke Schrijvers.

In the first picture, Ina Keuper, Leny Brouwer, Willy Jansen, and Leny Brouwer, José van Santen, Marion den Uyl are in the second picture.

After the audience was seated Annelou opened the LOVA part of Gerdien’s farewell party with a speech about LOVA’s history and background as a large part of the audience did not know that much about our feminist anthropology and gender studies association. Then Tine Davids took over to announce the honorary membership for Gerdien and Annelou and she pinned the LOVA brooches on the clothes of both ladies. 

LOVA members on first row during speech of Annelou: Joke Schrijvers, Lorreine Nencel, Tine Davids, Irene Arends, husband Peter of Gerdien, Gerdien Steenbeek

LOVA members on the first row during the speech of Tine: Annelou Ypeij, Marion den Uyl, José van Santen

Gerdien and Annelou receiving the pin of Tine

After the presentation of the brooches consisting of the LOVA logo to both honorary members the group of LOVA members on the first row in the audience came forward and were joined by Gerdien and Annelou they sang the so-called ‘LOVA song’. With the help of audio on the speakers the song ‘To be a woman’ (1982) by singer-songwriter Judy Small was sung with great enthusiasm and joy. 

LOVA members singing the song

The LOVA event was closed by Gerdien thanking for the award and the singing of the song; she mentioned that it was such a nice and big surprise for her, as it was for Annelou. Later this day, after many other nice speeches from colleagues and students, Gerdien took again the microphone for thanking all the people who made her farewell party such a special event. In the speech with PowerPoint – which she had prepared without knowing about the LOVA part and the award – she referred to LOVA as having been so important for her life as a student, Ph.D. candidate, and in her career as a lecturer at Utrecht University. She showed the audience the programme of the first LOVA meeting she helped organising, which was in March 1985. She also presented the musical score of the LOVA song which had been introduced during the drinks after a LOVA Study Day at Nijmegen University in March 1996, when Gerdien was president of the LOVA Study Days Committee. 

Gerdien thanking for the LOVA surprise in the morning; Gerdien’s speech at the end of the day