Saturday, December 15, 2018

Breaking Through the Bronze Ceiling

You may have heard of the Guerrilla Girls, who have been campaigning against the under representation of female artists in art galleries around the world. Back in 1989 the Guerrilla Girls surveyed all the works of art in New York's Museum of Modern Art. They discovered that less than 5% of the artworks in the Modern Art Department were by female artists. While 85% of the nudes featured in those artworks were female.

Women aren't only under represented inside art galleries. You probably won't be too surprised to hear that they are also under represented in those works of art that are displayed in public spaces. For example in Budapest there are more statues of animals than there are statues of women.

Atlatszo has analyzed all the statues that are owned and maintained by the municipality of Budapest. Of the 1,173 statues in the streets of Budapest 785 depict men. Only 150 statues depict women. A large proportion of the statues depicting men are of historical figures. Only 35 of the 1,173 statues in Budapest are of named historic women. The majority of the other statues of women are unnamed nudes. You can find out where all 150 statues depicting women are on the streets of Budapest on an interactive map in Atlatszo's Data Visualization of the Hungarian Bronze Ceiling.

Women aren't only under represented in artistic memorials. They are also under represented in the very names we give to the streets in which we live. For example an analysis of the Street Names in Vienna reveals that 4,269 streets have been named for men. Only 356 have been named for women.

Geochicas have also been investigating the under representation of women in street names. Their Las Calles de las Mujeres is an interactive map which shows all streets named for men and women in a number of Spanish and Central & South American cities. A pie chart on each city's map shows the percentage of streets named for both men and women in that city.

Mapbox has also created an interactive map showing the distribution of male and female street names in major cities across 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.

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