On September 20, 2007 the Jerusalem Post published an article entitled, “In a sign of the times, more streets to be named after outstanding women.” Obviously, in its quest to name streets after women, EVE is not alone. The article in the Jerusalem Post highlights the recognition by government officials that it is important to acknowledge the achievements of women, and street names are a simple way to do it:
Each year brings with it more and more streets named after the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. But some time soon we might also be seeing the first road named after Rabin’s mother Rosa – and dozens of other women who so far have not gotten due recognition on Israel’s avenues. The Prime Minister’s Office is pushing a new plan to name more streets and public buildings after women. Former Netanya mayor Vered Swid, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s adviser for social affairs, recently asked mayors and heads of local councils, including Yona Yahav of Haifa, Yitzhak Meir-Halevi of Eilat, Ya’acov Turner of Beersheba and Ron Huldai of Tel Aviv-Jaffa to name more streets after women who initiated significant change and made important contributions to society. Swid told The Jerusalem Post that according to an informal survey she had conducted, only a few dozens of Tel Aviv’s more than 2,000 streets were named after women. The municipal leaders seemed receptive of the initiative and their cities’ committees for street names would take it into consideration, Swid said. “We must make sure that future generations will also know and remember who the women were who led a change, contributed and helped reshaping our world and reality,” she said. Among those whose names should be immortalized were women such as Rosa Rabin, who was a member of the Tel Aviv City Council; former MK Chyka Grossman-Orkin (1919-1996), who served as deputy Knesset speaker during the ’70s and ’80s and who fought against the Nazis in the Bialystok Ghetto; and Shoshana Parsitz (1892-1969), the first female MK to chair a permanent Knesset panel – the Education and Culture Committee – and an Israel Prize laureate for education. Former minister Shulamit Aloni told the Post she supported anything that promoted women’s social status and corrected inequality. “I think streets should be named after nice things like flowers, ideas or great artists, for example, and not be named as Holocaust Street or other terms that remind us of awful things,” Aloni said. “However, as long as men are being immortalized on street signs, women should be remembered in this way as well. Many women performed great deeds and dedicated their entire existence to achieving goals such as equal social rights and things like women’s right to vote, to influence events or to control their own lives and bodies.”
What I found especially touching about the article is a recognition of the contributions of not only women who initiated change but the mothers of male leaders. In our culture the contributions of mothers are seldom recognized. Little has been written about the “First Mothers” — mothers of our presidents — or their contribution to our country. Yet how our presidents were raised contributed to who they were. These women should be acknowledged, along with the other women who have made significant contributions to our country.
Street names are a fantastic way to honor women and one that is being pursued all over the world. It’s time for the United States to take notice and change some of our street names too.
Great comparison! I’m excited for the change in street names EVE will be able to motivate!