Monday, 16 January 2017

The Word on the Street

The Word on the Street

Cities such as Bilbao, Valencia and Oviedo are all looking to do something about their street names; in particular Cádiz, where only 8 streets are named after women.

The rename of streets in Spain is very welcome
Spain is currently in the process of doing something about the fact that less than 10% of the streets in Spain are named after inspirational women. The plan is to take the streets named after fascist generals and other undesirables and rename them in honour of prominent female members of society.

Spanish urban planning expert Professor Arias Chachero talked to newspaper El Diario, saying that the situation seemed to be a physical manifestation of the outdated idea that women belong in the home and not out on the street.

While the Spanish Historical Memory Law was introduced in 2007 to formally condemn the fascist regime and eliminate all ties to it, it went unenforced so as to avoid affronting sensitive collective memories. Things have changed following the huge gains that left-leaning political party Podemos made during the local elections in May 2015.

As far as the streets that are already named for women go, almost all of them are named after nuns or female saints, though there was a controversial change in 2014 when one of the city squares of Madrid was renamed Plaza Margaret Thatcher.

As you might have expected some cities were quicker to adapt than others. Córdoba was well ahead of the curve as they ruled back in 2005 that half of the new street names should honour women. A thoroughfare in Madrid which is named for fascist general Andrés Saliquet is getting a name change and will soon be named, perhaps fittingly, in honour of Soledad Cazorla, who was the first female prosecutor in Spain to specialise in gender violence cases.

Citizens in León nominated women such as Rosa Parks, Frida Kahlo, Jane Austen, and local inventor Ángela Ruiz Robles for new street names last month. The name changes are already being introduced in places such as Bilbao, Valencia, and Oviedo, along with Cádiz where only 8 streets out of 736 bear the name of a woman.

So who would you like to see have their name immortalised in the streets of Málaga? Calle Michelle Obama has a nice ring to it.