Gender Equity Victoria (GEN VIC) is excited to join Geographic Names Victoria in a range of new initiatives to encourage diversity in the naming of places after women starting with a state-wide survey of Victoria’s approximately 250,000 place and road names. The Put Her Name On It campaign aims to make sure women have an equal place in public place-naming and commemoration.
Victoria has a rich history of trailblazing women who have shaped local, state and federal politics, literature, the arts, sport and other sectors. However, too few women are recognised and honoured in street names, parks and gardens, local government wards, monuments, and public artworks.
“Commemorative justice is important to gender equality. If we cannot see women and gender diverse people represented and remembered in our public places and street names, as well as public art and sculpture, we send the wrong message, especially to young people, that only men’s achievements are worth celebrating. Increasing gender equal representation and recognition is an important part of our work to create safe and respectful spaces for women as well as strengthen the gender equity movement.” said Tanja Kovac, CEO of Gender Equity Victoria.
Whist we know there is a gender gap in commemorative place-naming, the extent is yet to be defined. Geographic Names Victoria and GEN VIC are working to bridge the data gap through ground-breaking state-wide research to understand how well women are represented in public spaces. The research is targeted at the local government level due to the significant role local government plays as a naming authority for the naming of places and public art installations.
“Women have contributed to Victoria’s greatness for centuries and it’s time these contributions were recognised more equally in our public place names and commemorations. GEN VIC and Geographic Names Victoria’s Local Government Survey research will help us understand the gap further, actions being taken to address it, monitor progress and design programs.” says Kerry Wilson, Put Her Name On It Project Lead at GEN VIC.
GEN VIC looks forward to working with Geographic Names Victoria to re-shape how we reflect on the history of women, Traditional Owners and our multicultural history. We look forward to making more announcements soon on the future of this exciting new project.