In connection with Equality Week 2020, held from 28 February to 8 March, and with a view to promoting the contributions of the female citizens of Geneva to the history of our canton, the City of Geneva will submit a dossier to the Cantonal Nomenclature Commission (CCN) to change the names of 16 streets, squares, parks and footpaths within the municipal territory.
This initiative, launched during the one-year term of Mayor Sandrine Salerno and devoted to gender and equality issues, follows in the wake of the 100Elles* project and motion M-2536 accepted by the Grand Council in 2019, asking for the names of 100 of Geneva’s streets to be changed over a period of three years.
On the basis of the biographies developed as part of the 100Elles* project, the names of 16 women or groups of women satisfying the criteria set by the CCN have been selected. Scientists, engineers, teachers, philanthropists, activists, politicians, company managers, workers or anonymous figures, they have all left their mark on Geneva’s history. On the anniversary of women’s suffrage, particular attention has been paid to those figures who fought for women’s eligibility and the right to vote in Geneva.
Through this change of name, and as the Mayor of Geneva explains, “the City intends to make a statement recognizing the fact that the women of Geneva are citizens in their own right who have contributed to our collective history while correcting an injustice which has remained unchanged too long – that of the invisibility of women in the public sphere”. The aim is also to give future generations the means of drawing inspiration from a wider range of role models.
She thus hopes to initiate a dynamic, inviting the other municipalities to follow suit and undertake to achieve the objective set by the motion of the Grand Council. “This motion helps ensure the long-term legacy of the 100Elles* project. Initiated by the City of Geneva, this approach is not only an act of recognition but also a rebalancing of history which has favored men to the detriment of these women who, it cannot be denied, led quite remarkable lives,” concludes Antonio Hodgers, President of the State Council.
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