Research: Zagreb Is City Ruled by Men

Total Croatia News

Interesting results of a sociological survey about Croatian capital.

Zagreb is a male city and maintains the dominant patriarchal arrangement, despite the recent widening of the debate on gender equality – these are the results of a sociological research published in the Political Thought magazine on the occasion of the birthday of the icons of women’s rights fight in Croatia, Marija Jurić Zagorka, reports Večernji List on March 5, 2017.

The Centre for Women’s Studies, which manages the Memorial Apartment of Marija Jurić Zagorka, prepared for the second half of this week a special commemorative programme. However, Zagorka, the first professional female journalist in Croatia, is one of few women celebrated on Zagreb streets and squares.

Katja Vretenar and Zlatan Krajina with the Faculty of Political Sciences in Zagreb have conducted a research which concluded that modern Zagreb has grown into a city ruled by men, while women, despite their physical presence, are actually “symbolically absent”.

They analyzed the representation of women and men in the names of 3,861 public places. They found that 1,032 streets and squares are named after men, while only 69, or only 1.8 percent, have names of women. Women are represented almost 15 times less than men, and most of the streets dedicated to women are small side streets, away from the city centre and major roads.

At the same time, out of the total number of streets named after women, just 58 percent are concrete historical figures, associated primarily with the national culture, with the exception of Maria Theresa, while the rest are women symbolizing only archetypal concepts, mostly attributed to their role as mothers.

In the Lower Town neighbourhood (city centre), Passage of the Baković Sisters is the only location named after women. The anti-fascist fighters Rajka and Zdenka even had to give way from 1990 to 2009 to a certain Miškec, a man for whom there is no certain information why he would merit to have anything named after him.

Zagreb has a total of 70 squares, with just three having women’s names: Dubravka Square, Katarina Zrinski Square and Saint Mary of Čučerje Square. About 60 percent of squares are named after men. And, “the dominance of the male sex/gender is expressed not only by the abundance of names, but also by the central position of such squares”, write the authors. Locations named after women were usually located at the very margins of the research area.

According to one source, there were 292 monuments and sculptures located in Zagreb in 2007. Of this number, 145 or 50 percent were male, with as many as 108, or 75 percent, being specific and real historical figures. At the same time, there were only five sculptures and monuments representing real women.

The authors of the research quote conclusions made by the City Committee for Naming Streets and Squares and the Committee for Gender Equality, which determined that the number of women represented was not satisfactory. This opinion was delivered to local neighbourhood councils, who then expanded the list of possible names for naming future streets and squares with names of eight women who made their mark in Zagreb and Croatia. To date, only four of these names have been used.

The situation is not likely to change anytime soon, given that, out of 51 members of the City Assembly, 36 or 71 percent are males and just 15 or 29 percent are women.


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