Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Sexist Street Names of Amsterdam

Sara Sprinkhuizen and Leon de Korte have analyzed 5,400 Amsterdam street names to explore what and whom the Dutch have historically considered important enough to be immortalized by having a street name. You can view the results of this analysis in From Pythagoras to Amalia.

You might not be surprised to learn that like most other towns and cities around the world Amsterdam has far more streets named for men than it does for women. 2,014 of Amsterdam's streets are named after people. 1,770 of those streets are named after men and only 242 are named after women.

What is surprising is that there appears to be less sexism present when naming the city's bridges. While only 12% of streets are named after women, 38% of the city's bridges have been named for a woman. Sara and Leon reveal that many of the city's bridges were only given names fairly recently. The public were asked to recommend names and the city decided to preference women's names and names from other under-represented groups when making their final selection.

From Pythagoras to Amalia doesn't just explore the ratio of male and female names in Amsterdam's streets. The analysis also looks at the ratio of different types of streets in Amsterdam (straat, gracht, weg etc). In addition there is an analysis of which periods of history are most reflected in the city's street names (the earliest person in history to have a road named for him is Pythagoras).

Geochicas has been at the forefront in revealing the under-representation of women in street names. Las Calles de las Mujeres is an interactive map which reveals all the streets named for men and women in a number of cities in Spain, Argentina, Mexico, Bolivia, Cuba, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

A number of other interactive mapping projects have explored the sexist culture of naming streets in other cities around the world. Street Names in Vienna visualizes all the streets named for men and women in the Austrian capital.

EqualStreetNames: Belgrade is an interactive map which colors the streets of the capital of Serbia based on whether they are named for men or women. EqualStreetNames.Brussels is a similar map looking at the number of streets named for men and women in the capital of Belgium.

Mapping Female versus Male Street Names also maps the distribution of male and female street names in many major cities across the world.

No comments: