San Francisco public art ordinance puts more women on pedestals


San Francisco is well known for its remarkable public art, but out of the city’s 87 public statues, just three represent women, according to Smithsonian News.

Back in 2017, then-City Supervisor Mark Farrell introduced an initiative for San Francisco to join the 30% Club, an international movement that is dedicated to increasing female representation in public spaces. The new ordinance states that San Francisco must have at least 30 percent of new public art representing the remarkable women throughout history.

This ordinance will establish the quota for women’s inclusion in future art beginning with a statue outside the Main Library of Maya Angelou, an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist who lived in San Francisco in her early life, and was the first African-American woman cablecar operator.

The initiative struck SF State students as a good thing.

“I’m all for it. If there’s anything that can get the female presence out there then by all means,” said Esteban Correa, an SF State student majoring in biology. “If anything they’re greatly underrepresented.”

New statues will add more than just artwork around the city. It will also launch a new initiative by the San Francisco’s Department on the Status of Women to compile a list of street names, buildings, parks and historical plaques that will be changed to honor women by Oct. 1, 2019.