Barcelona, a city of women scientists

08/03/2023 - 13:08 h - Science Ajuntament de Barcelona

Correcting the under-representation of women in public space is the aim of the municipal campaign this 8 March, City of Women, which presents the publication of a map of the metro network and the urban area of FGC where the 153 stops have been renamed after women. The action promotes a historical claim: to recognise the mark left by women in the city, in fields as diverse as science, literature, sport, politics and neighbourhood activism. In parallel to this symbolic action, sixteen real public spaces with women’s names will be inaugurated in the city during the month of March.

City of Women is an initiative to highlight the great contributions made by women throughout history and to demand a greater presence of their memory on the urban plane. By means of a symbolic map of the metro, the life trajectories of more than one hundred and fifty women who have marked and continue to mark the history of the city, and who are a sample of the mark left in Barcelona by countless artists, sportswomen, politicians, activists and scientists.

The Barcelona City of Women’s map is the result of an international initiative that began in 2016 in New York City. Rebeca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro imagined a New York underground map where all the stops were named after women. Indigenous, black and LGTBI women, politicians, scholars, revolutionaries and artists, women who were part of the past and present of the city’s history and who were not sufficiently recognised in the public space. The initiative was replicated in 2022 in London, with the symbolic renaming of all underground stops in the British capital.

Scientists of the City of Women

  • Adela Simon Pera (Barcelona 1919-1979). A nurse, she led the modernisation of the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, moving from a charity model to professional care and applying the teachings of Florence Nightingale.
  • Dolors Aleu i Riera (Barcelona 1857-1913). Doctor, gynaecologist and teacher, in 1885 she created the Academy of Fine Arts and Crafts for Women, together with Clotilde Cerdà. She was the first woman to be accepted as a member of the Société Française de Hygiène.
  • Elena Carreras i Moratonas (Barcelona 1960). Head of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Service at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital and of the Maternal and Foetal Medicine Research Group. She is president of the Advisory Council on Gender Policies and a pioneer in incorporating the gender perspective in health issues.
  • Elena Maseras – Maria Elena Maseras Ribera (Vila-seca 1853-Maó 1905). Thanks to royal permission, in 1872 she was the first woman to graduate from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Barcelona, from which women were excluded. However, she was unable to practise and devoted herself to teaching.
  • Josefina Castellví i Piulachs (Barcelona 1935). An oceanographer and biologist, she was the first Spaniard to take part in an international expedition to the Antarctic, together with Marta Estrada. From 1989 to 1997 she directed the Spanish Antarctic Base on Livingston Island.
  • Juliana Morell (Barcelona 1594-Avignon (France) 1653). The only woman to be represented at the Paraninfo of the University of Barcelona, she was also the first Spaniard to obtain a university degree. A doctor of law, abbess, writer and translator, she spoke fourteen languages.
  • Maria Antònia Canals i Tolosa (Barcelona 1931-2022). Mathematician and educator, follower of Montessori and Piaget, she led the founding of the Ton i Guida school in the Verdun and Les Roquetes neighbourhoods, where an advanced pedagogical model was applied.
  • Ramona Vía i Pros (Vilafranca del Penedès 1922-Girona 1992). She is the author of Nit de Reis: Diari d’una infermera de 14 anys and Com neixen els catalans, in which she recounts her experience of almost thirty years as a midwife in El Prat de Llobregat, the city of which she is an adopted daughter.
  • Rosa Ramon Soler (Barcelona 1946). An intensivist and anaesthesiologist, she was the first medical director of Bellvitge University Hospital and has held other management positions, such as the management of Joan XXIII University Hospital in Tarragona.

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