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Justice

Mapping the Sexism of City Street Names

In a study of seven world metros, only a little more than a quarter of the streets were named for women.
Map of San Francisco, in which blue lines represent male street names and red lines signify female street names.
Map of San Francisco, in which blue lines represent male street names and red lines signify female street names.Mapbox/OpenStreetMap

A lot of things are named after people: food, theories, diseases, and among the most common, streets. Martin Luther King Jr. alone has more than 900 streets named after him throughout the U.S. Then there are several streets named after presidents like George Washington, scientists like Isaac Newton, and other historical figures.

But there’s a glaring problem with how streets get named: few memorialize women. A new interactive map from Mapbox developer Aruna Sankaranarayanan and her colleagues shows just how scarce female streets are in major cities around the world.