ATTENTION: THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS. HELP US TELL THE STORY OF THESE WOMEN. IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION ABOUT THEM (BIOGRAPHICAL DATA OR PICTURES) OR SEE ANY TOPONYM MISSING, PLEASE SEND IT TO email@example.com
The initial idea of this article was to produce a route through the female toponymy of Figueira da Foz. On the pretext of Women’s Day, pay tribute to these figures and build a tour through the history of women in the county. It ended up with this: a warning and an appeal to those in charge of these things, to start changing the patriarchal toponymic tradition and to embrace once and for all gender equality in the names of our public spaces as well.
The phrase “the historical erasure of the role of women in Portuguese society” was read in a newsletter of the excellent journalistic project Fumaça, which drew attention to the historical and toponymic invisibility of the female gender in other cities. Unfortunately, this also applies to Figueira da Foz. But we have enough for a short route.
What is a name on a street? What value does a place name have?… Squares, avenues, lanes, squares, these and other parts of our communal geography are dedicated to a landmark in the landscape, an event, an individual, a craft, that place becomes part of our lives too. collective cultural memory and – hearts up – part of educating those to come about those who have walked here to build and enhance the land they walk on and the community to which they belong. In addition to its invaluable postal function, toponymy is above all a tribute that a community pays to something or someone who has made a mark on the land, usually positively.
Most of the place-names are related to natural motifs, such as Figueira da Foz or Rua do Monte Alto; to sacred motifs, such as Rua de São Tomé; to ephemeris, such as Largo 9 de Abril and Praça 8 de Maio; to other cities, such as Rua de Coimbra; and to a countless number of reasons for street names, and towns – and in all cities, by the way, the most beautiful are always the streets of Liberty – but for this case what interests us are the toponyms dedicated to people, streets, squares, avenues, lanes and squares named after people.
Toponymy is also generally a poor relation of the intangible cultural heritage of communities, which needs to be enhanced, including as a tourist resource. And since at MeetFigueira we are curious and our mission is to promote these same heritages, we went to research and scrutinize all the streets, avenues, lanes, squares and squares of the municipality in several databases, especially in the Municipal Geographic Information System – We cannot guarantee that we have missed anything, so if you know of any other references, please let us know.
Toponymy, in fact, as a valuable repository of the collective memory of the municipality and the various local communities that cohabit under its banner, has offered curious insights and interesting ideas for work on discovering the territory, such as routes. One of the curious clues then concerns women or, updating the discourse, the gender (dis)equality reflected in the map of the municipality.
And two things stand out in this small analysis of gender in Figueiran toponymy:
- Of the few women honored in this way and who have really marked the communities directly (we do not count Amália Rodrigues or D. Maria here), almost all are teachers. It would almost make for a Teachers’ Route.
- In hundreds of records, there are literally half a dozen women with the right to a full name in Figueira’s toponymy: most are saints or citizens who were only eternalized by being Marias or Isabéis – such as Rua da Laurinda, Travessa da T’Iria or even Rua Professora Palmira -, without the right to a surname. The men, on the other hand, always appear with all the epigraphic pomp and, as a general rule, preceded by a bow: Doctor (or Prof. Doctor), Engineer, Commander, Monsignor or Major Aviator, etc. It would take a month to make the Figueira da Foz Man Route on the ground. Basically, women hardly exist in Figueiran toponymy and – here’s an appeal – it would be an excellent idea for public authorities to start adopting a practice of positive discrimination in this matter, to make up for so many years of silence in the public space.
We will leave socio-historical analysis to sociologists and historians, or journalists, but here is the list/route (see map above), from which we have excluded saints and Marian invocations – with the exception of the Queen Dona Isabelwho, although canonized, was in fact a woman and Queen of Portugal – with all due respect to religious traditions, but we are dealing here with people of flesh and blood who actually lived and worked in the communities, although not all in this community as the divine Amália or the Queen “Educator”.
Rua Vale de Inês
Largo das Ricardinas
Rua Professora Maria Rodrigues Morgado
Professor Palmira Street
BUARCOS AND SÃO JULIÃO
Rua da Laurinda
Rua Professora Dona Salvadora
Dona Maria Street
Largo Maria Jarra
Largo Dona Margarida Barraca
Largo Margarida Mendonça Barraca
Travessa da Laurinda
Rotunda Dra. Natércia Crisanto
FERREIRA THE NEW
Professor Mónica Nora Street
Rua Professora Georgina Macário
Rainha Santa Isabel Street
Largo O Cantito da Ti Neta
Travessa da T’Iria
Rua da Tecedeira
Maria Amada Street
Dona Filomena Street
Rua Professora Maria Isabel de Andrade
Rosa Clara Street
Travessa Maria Roque
Rua Professora Preciosa da Costa Maia
Rosita Nogueira Playground
Violinda Medina e Silva Street
Rua Luísa Parracho
Maria Clara Roundabout
Largo Dona Amália de Carvalho
Avenida Drª Cristina Torres
Maria Robala Street
Rua Maria do Saltadouro
Maria Olguim Street
Amália Rodrigues Avenue