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Put Her On The Map initiative pushes for more streets, monuments named after women

New campaign seeks gender parity in our street names and historic monuments

Eleanor Roosevelt Statue
Eleanor Roosevelt Statue at the FDR Memorial in Washington, D.C. Only 8 percent of historical monuments in the U.S. are named after women.
Flickr/Creative Commons

According to a recent article in The Washington Post, only 8 percent of our monuments are named after women. That disparity helped inspire Put Her On The Map, a new initiative to create more gender parity in the historical record by naming streets and historical monuments after famous women.

Launched last week by international ad agency BBDO at the AOL-sponsored Makers Conference, a gathering dedicated to “the trailblazing women of today and tomorrow,” the nascent campaign seeks to honor women and present a more diverse view of history.

Kirsten Flanik, the president of BBDO New York, said that as a professional storyteller, when she found out about the relative dearth of monuments and streets named after women, she immediately felt there were stories out there the desperately needed to be told.

“Until the fact was brought to my attention, sometimes you forget that you walk around a world where the visible representations of success aren’t very diverse,” she says.

After announcing the idea at the Makers Conference last week and attracting support from attendees such as Megan Smith, the nation’s former Chief Technology Officer, Put Her On The Map is beginning to figure out next steps and plot strategy. So far, Flanik says the City of Los Angeles has already expressed interest in getting involved.

Flanik also hopes that the companies and brands represented at Makers will begin to get the word out and start renaming some of their corporate roads and streets after famous women. She says the best way to help is to follow the campaign on social media and contact local government officials

The Makers Conference felt a little bit like the “march after the Women’s March,” she says, and hopes the initiative can begin to gain momentum and thrive at a moment when more and more people seem inspired and dedicated to getting involved.