Making a Difference for Dutch Women: Marlies Bosch

By OBOS — April 6, 2009

From 2009 – 2011, Our Bodies Ourselves honored the work of women’s health advocates worldwide by asking readers to nominate their favorite women’s health hero. View all nominees by year: 2009, 2010, 2011

Entrant: Els Smulders

Nominee: Marlies Bosch

Socutera spot over Vrouwen-zelfhulp from Aletta on Vimeo.

I want to nominate a special woman, Marlies Bosch, she was born in Amsterdam in 1942. Marlies Bosch has really made a difference for Dutch women, Tibetan Buddhist nuns and various healthcare issues. She did so much I can hardly tell, but below is an excerpt from her website.

“At the moment she is the chairwoman of the Foundation ICG (Information Centre Gynaecology), which organization she has helped to found in the beginning of the eighties in order to prevent unnecessary hysterectomies and to raise awareness of the impact of such surgeries on women’s lives. It now still provides support and information for women with gynaecological problems in Holland.”

“She photographed and documented her own process of hysterectomy and also made a photo book of her process with breast cancer, in that way helping women openly speaking about it.

“She also founded and is the secretary of the DFLN, Dutch foundation for Ladakhi Nuns, and as such initiated the adaptation of Ourbodies, Ourselves in Tibetan. With the support of this foundation Ladakhi nuns manage to become self-supportive.”

She is also a journalist and photographer who writes frequently about women and health issues for a series of magazines and newspapers. I hope to have given a bit of an impression of this woman.

Marlies Bosch

Ms. Bosch is pictured to the right.

32 responses to “Making a Difference for Dutch Women: Marlies Bosch”

  1. Marlies Bosch is great and really ia an excellent person for this award. She has been active in the women’s health movement for very many years in the Netherlands, she has written a great number of articles and published great books, with a real feminist view on women’s health care. She made reportages and books about her own experiences as a patient, never in a complaining way, but always putting forward the strength of women as herself. Moreover, as a photographer she made an impressive book about the live of her breasts, as well as about other people with breast cancer. She has put a lot of effort into incorporating the ideas of women’s self-help groups into the regular health care, etc etc. I really support this nomination.

    Gunilla Kleiverda, MD. PhD, head of educational department of Ob&Gyn and board member of Women on Waves

  2. hi,

    gefeliciteerd met je nominatie!

    wij duimen dat je het wordt!

    liefs van ons vieren,


  3. Marlies,

    Zoveel goeds wat jij in de wereld doet….je verdient het!!

    Suc6 meis,

    Liefs Margreet

  4. Lieve Marlies,

    Een zéér terechte nominatie! Je verdient het, en het is je zó gegund!!

    Ga zo door, en heel veel succes gewenst…

    Liefs, Lammina

  5. Lieve Marlies,

    Onze stem heb je hoor!!!!!!

    Heel erg veel succes en we hopen snel even weer bij te kletsen!


    Louis, Evelien en Nora

  6. I am happy to say: Long Live Marlies Bosch! You are one of a kind. I feel very privileged having come across your way as a filmmaker who documented the Ladakhi nuns and Nyerma nunnery founded by your organization DFLN. You seem to have a Midas touch to needy women. I sincerely wish your activity will be rewarded by this precious award . You have earned a good smile to yourself!

  7. Marlies van harte gefeliciteerd met deze nominatie. Waardering voor al het werk wat je doet. En met zoveel enthousiasme. Ghanese knuffel Jeannette

  8. Marlies is a terrific nominee. Her work is sensitive, timely and responsive to the needs of women of all ages. Marlies has worked in many countries and treats everyone with dignity and respect. She has made a difference for Dutch women and those from other countries.

  9. Marlies has accomplished so many informative works through her photography and her words. She has helped women be more informed about their bodies, mind and soul than any other woman I have met.

    I was once a prisoner in a Connecticut prison for women. She helped guide me on my difficult journey by learning meditation and spirituality from within. A freedom that even cell bars can not take away.

    All the best to you, Marlies!

  10. Lieve Marlies,

    Je hebt de nominatie dubbel en dwars verdiend.

    Van mij krijg je voor 100% steun.

    Lieve groet,

    Angelique Konijn

  11. Hé Marlies, gefeliciteerd met je nominatie.

    Van de korte tijd dat ik je nu ken, weet ik dat je een actieve, veelzijdige en kleurrijke vrouw bent.

    Veel succes, Ilona

  12. Marlies is a wonderful example of compassion and loving care. She has worked tirelessly on behalf of the Tibetan Nuns through the Dutch foundation for Ladakhi Nuns. She uses her remarkable skills as a photographer to capture and tell the stories of the nuns and to raise money on their behalf. She helps in the building of their nunnery, education programs and guesthouse as a way to offer them security and independence.

    Marlies has also come to the US and worked with the women in prison in Connecticut. She has helped them understand more about their personal health issues and ways to regain their self-esteem and hope for a brighter future. Many of her photographs hang in the library at the prison as a constant reminder of her work and compassion.

    She has touched so many people with her vivid and honest photography and writings about her personal struggle with breast cancer. She is a wonderful human being and she makes an impact on all she comes in to contact with.

    Many Blessings


  13. Dearest Marlies,

    Congratulations on your nomination. To me, you are all that is Light. Through your encouragement and love, you have guided me on this path and brought clarity through your living example of womanhood.



  14. Lieve Marlies,

    Van harte gefeliciteerd met deze zeer terechte nominatie. jij maakt de wereld mooier. Een voorbeeld van hoe een vrouw het verschil kan maken.



  15. Hi mams,

    Gefeliciteerd met je nominatie!

    Je hebt het verdient!!!


    Ramon, Lorette, Ruben en ?

  16. Hoi Marlies,

    Gefeliciteerd met je nominatie, het komt vast goed. Veel succes, mijn steun en stem heb je in ieder geval.



  17. Marlies Bosch is a committed global feminist, through and through. She is kind-hearted and generous as a leader, activist, and friend, and she has almost single-handedly helped to spark a movement among Ladakhi Buddhist nuns toward a higher quality of life, including education, economic opportunity, and health care. Her sense of humor, vision, committment, duty, and determination — returning to Ladakh again and again despite personal hardships or ill health — make her an exemplary advocate. Thank you, Marlies, from the bottom of my heart, for all you have done for women in Ladakh and elsewhere!

  18. Marlies die ken ik van haar foto’s! Daarnaast met veel goede zaken bezig. Nominatie…? Geweldig!!

  19. Lieve Marlies, dat velen je nominatie mogen ondersteunen omdat jij je met al je vaardigheden inzet om vrouwen te ondersteunen hun lichaam beter te leren kennen en om te gaan met ziekte.

    Ook mijn steun heb je,



  20. Dear Marlies,

    I appreciate so much the way you activate the autonomy of women and their bodies, in every project you are engaged with…,

    I am happy with your nomination, it’s a break through for you and all of us, congratulations

    love, josee

  21. Hallo Marlies,

    Ook ik heb op jou gestemd, en gun ‘t je van harte dat je ‘t wordt.



  22. While doing an oral history project about the Dutch Women’s Health Movement at the Int. Information Centre and Archives of the Women’s Movement (IIAV , we interviewed Marlies Bosch about her activities for the women’s selfhelp movement. I was impressed and entertained about what she told us about her activities. I really support this nomination.

  23. Hoi MArlies
    Ik ga voor je duimen dat jij het wordt, want jouw inzet is geweldig.
    Jouw nominatie ondersteun ik van harte.

  24. Lieve Marlies

    Ik hoop vurig dat jij ‘het wordt’. Je hebt me geweldig gesteund toen ik hoorde dat ik borstkanker had, zowel met heel waardevolle praktische tips als vooral ook emotionele support.

    Ik was ook heel blij met jouw boek met interviews met borstkanker-patientes en – patienten.

    Dus ik heb op je gestemd.

    Veel liefs


  25. Dear Marlies,

    Wholehearted I support your nomination. I’ve known you for many years now and I’m impressed by your dedication, your everlasting optimism, humor and drive to make this world a better place for women. A pionier in women’s health, you’ve succeeded in organising a network for selfhulp for women with breast cancer and other gynaecological problems. Your message is short and simpel: don’t be a victim! Empowerment of women in health care is your main issue. The combination of your own story (which you’re not afraid to share with and show to us) and your abilities to organise and inspire women ánd men is one of your strengths.


  26. THANK YOU!!!

    To all men and women who have been so supportive to my nomination, and to Els, who nominated me: thank you so much. I feel this award is not about ‘winning’ but about our concern for the healthcare of women worldwide, and all nominees share that concern. The award is about to be given to the woman with most votes. What I would like to say is that also women with few votes have had a great impact on the issues they stand for, so it is a shared ‘winning’ of the Health Heroes Award. Congratulations to all.

    Marlies Bosch

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