Popular consultation for the Retiro to dedicate the first statue to a female writer

“Do you know how many women writers have a statue in the Retiro? None. All the statues in the Retiro dedicated to women are goddesses or, directly, anonymous, like the Seated Woman. However, we can find Góngora, Jacinto Benavente or Benito Pérez Galdós”. This was the title of the initiative launched last Sunday by Más Madrid, which invited all Madrilenians to participate in asking the City Council to place a statue in the emblematic Madrid park as a tribute to a female writer.

The poet Gloria Fuertes is the one who has more support to break this inertia. She will have a statue in the next edition of the Book Fair in the park’s Paseo de Coches if the proposal, promoted by Más Madrid in the City Council of the capital, is successful and must be voted on in the plenary session of the Board of Retiro in the coming weeks.

As they explained in the call, “it was the cultural and women’s associations of the Retiro district who asked the City Council to unveil the first statue of homage to a historical woman in this Book Fair. Despite having granted it, the City Council has not fulfilled its commitment. Not only are women invisible in the statues in the Retiro, but also only one in five streets in Madrid is named after a woman”.

The suggestions were collected in a tent installed at the door of Sainz de Baranda street, which gives access to the municipal library.

In a few hours, the banner set up to receive the proposals of the neighbors already had numerous posters with the suggested names of Spanish women writers of all times. The same Sunday night several users on Twitter echoed of the campaign. Among them, the writer Elvira Sastre, who opened a thread.

The campaign has remained online during these days, but according to sources from Más Madrid to elDiario.es, the most voted option, by far, has been that of the poet Gloria Fuertes, defender of feminism and the environment. Fuertes, very popular for her children’s stories, died in Madrid, her birthplace, in November 1998. The councillors behind the idea will take the results of this vote in the form of an initiative to the plenary session of the Retiro Municipal Council, probably on October 14.

Councillor Amanda Romero regrets that in Madrid “women are quite invisible throughout the city, as only one in five streets is named after a woman. And in Más Madrid we are clearly feminist, it is one of the essences and commitments of our program: to advance in the conquest of equality between women and men”.

“For us, it is essential to promote the participation and presence of women in those fields in which they are more invisible (writing, science, technology…)”, she adds.

The members of the group Más Madrid recognize that they have not yet spoken with the mayor, José Luis Martínez Almeida, or with the deputy mayor, Begoña Villacís, but they hope to count on their support and with the rest of the political groups. “The truth is that we have experienced a certain effect of overflow in participation, which shows people’s interest in making women visible in public spaces and, more specifically, to value the work of women writers who, historically, have been invisibilized,” says the mayor Amanda Romero.

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