Women are largely under-represented in street names around Geneva, despite making a significant contribution to the history of the canton and its municipalities. Until 2020, of all streets named after people, only 7% referred to women. This observation, which is repeated the world over, is not compatible with present-day demands for equality.
For women and their stories to be both visible and acknowledged today, they must occupy a key place in our collective memories and in their symbolic representations.
In September 2021, continuing the process launched in 2020 which had already resulted in 10 names of locations around the city being renamed after women, the municipality submitted a second request to the Cantonal Nomenclature Commission (CCN) to rename 14 locations after women.
As part of the municipal Zero sexism in my cityaction plan, this process is a continuation of the 100Elles* project (www.100elles.ch) and motion M-2536, accepted by the Grand Council in 2019, requesting that the names of 100 streets in Geneva be renamed within a period of three years.
An additional step towards more balanced representation
During the session of 9 March 2022, the State Council approved a change in the names of 9 streets and squares within the territory of the City of Geneva.
At 10th proposal, concerning the principle of renaming Chemin Galiffe as Chemin Annie-JIAGGE, is pending and will be decided by the State Council during the spring.
The City welcomes the decision of the State Council and is delighted by this second step towards a more balanced representation of men and women around the streets of Geneva. According to Alfonso Gomez, Executive Councilor responsible for matters of equality and diversity, It is a strong political decision which helps us pursue the commitment to fostering a lasting change in how people are represented and the gradual development of more egalitarian public areas.
Pursuing the current dynamic
The people and companies concerned by the name changes will be informed of the next steps in the process by letter. All necessary information will be sent to them this spring in order to facilitate the transitionwhich will take effect by the summer.
For the most part, only limited measures will be required as most of the changes will be implemented automatically and at the same time (OCPM, SIG, La Poste, etc.). A formerly sign, indicating the previous street name, will be affixed alongside the new street name, thereby maintaining a record of the change while facilitating the transition.
Furthermore, the City intends to pursue its efforts to rename streets after women. It will present a new request to the CCN in a few months which will include a new proposal for a street or square named after Grislidis REAL, as the Citys proposal to rename the lower section of rue de Zurich was rejected.
For more information on this matter and the actions of the City of Geneva with regard to gender matters in public areas:www.geneve.ch/zero-sexismeand on the changes to street names:www.geneve.ch/change-names-streets.