French Feminists Are Renaming The Streets Of Paris

It's time to celebrate inspirational women...

French feminists have taken to the streets of Paris to expose a shocking statistic: Only 2.6% of Parisian street names commemorate women. How? Easy. They’re renaming them.

Feminist group, Osez le Féminisme! (loosely translated as ‘dare to be a feminist’), took to the streets of Paris last week, replacing the capital’s iconic blue plaques with some updated sticker plaques of their own. For example, Quai de la Tournelle in Notre Dame became Quai de Nina Simone (who lived her last years in France).

The street takeover has opened up a fierce debate about why so few women are commemorated. In a statement released on their website, translated by the Independent, the group rallied support declaring:

‘Street names attest to our history: they belong to a political choice, revealing the values that the city wishes to embody.

‘While men honoured on street signs are legion, only 160 women – mostly wives or daughters of famous men – are noted in Paris. Yet our history is full of scientists, writers, activists, women politicians, artists, revolutionaries, that deserve the recognition of this country.’

It’s hardly an issue particular to France. This is a global problem. Osez le Féminisme’s protest in Paris comes mere months after an inspired group of women in the US launched an app called ‘Women on the Map’. Once downloaded onto your phone, it will buzz when you approach a location where a woman made history.

US and UK statistics mirror the gender disparity in Paris. ‘Women on the Map’ states on their website: ‘In New York City there are 150 statues of people: 145 are men and 5 are of women’ and ‘only nine of the 100 statues in the US National Statuary Hall are of women.’

The statistics in the UK aren’t that much better. A 2012 BBC report states that of the total 640 listed statues in the UK, only 15% are of women.

In Paris, Osez le Féminisme! aren’t accepting these statistics as fact. They’re actively doing something about it. They want as many women as men honoured on the streets of Paris. Only time will tell if they succeed…

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