Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Sexist Streets of the World


The street names of Vienna memorialize the lives of thousands of men. 4,269 of them. That is how many streets in the Austrian capital have been named for famous (and not so famous) men. The lives of women are not celebrated quite so much in the street names of Vienna. In fact only 356 streets have been named for women.

Street Names in Vienna visualizes all the streets named for men and women on an interactive map. On the map streets named for men are colored blue and streets named for women are colored red. You can click on the individual streets to learn a little more about each individual memorialized in Vienna's street names.

Street Names in Vienna also includes a statistics view. If you click on the little graph icon above the map all the male and female streets transition into two long roads. This shows the total length of all the roads named for men and the total length of all the roads named for women. 1,541 km of roads (or 42.4% of the total length of Vienna's roads) are named for men. 109 km (or 3% of the total length of Vienna's roads) have been  named for women.

The animated transitions between the map and statistics views of the data were created using D3.js. You can learn how the transitions are made on the map creator's tutorial on Transitions from Maps to Diagrams.


It isn't only in Vienna where a patriarchal view of the world is reflected in the names of its streets. Mapbox has analysed the number of street names named after men and women throughout the world and determined that far more streets are named after men than women.

Mapbox has created an interactive map showing the distribution of male and female street names in major cities across the world. On the map all the male street names are colored blue and all the female street names are colored red. The map reveals that there is a far higher proportion of blue streets than red streets throughout the world. According to Mapping Female versus Male Street Names if you add up all the streets in Bengaluru, Chennai, London, Mumbai, New Delhi, Paris, and San Francisco only 27.5% are named after women.


Geochicas have also been investigating the under-representation of women in street names. They have looked at a number of Latin American and Spanish cities to explore the number of streets named for men compared to the number of streets named for women.

Las Calles de las Mujeres is an interactive map which shows all streets named for men and women in Asuncion, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Cochabamba, Lima and Montevideo. In each city roads named for men are colored blue and roads colored yellow have been named for women. The colors on the map provide a quick overview of how many streets have been named for women compared to men. Just to make sure that there is no doubt about the issue the map sidebar also includes a pie chart that shows the percentage of streets named for both men and women in each city.

Las Calles de las Mujeres also aims to celebrate the small percentage of women who have been commemorated by having streets named for them. It has therefore linked to the Wikipedia articles (where available) of the women whose names appear on the map. You can read more about the project (in Spanish) at Geochicas.

Earlier this year Zeit Online released a fascinating analysis of the most popular German street names. As part of this investigation they looked into how street names reflect society's prejudices, beliefs and attitudes. One thing the project revealed was the under-representation of women in city street names.

In Streetscapes: Mozart, Marx and a Dictator Zeit Online looks at the trends of naming streets for people and historical events. One thing that they discovered is that streets are far more likely to be named for men than they are for women. For example in Hamburg 2,511 streets are named after men and only 397 are named after women.
Post a Comment