A statue of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a former mayor of San Francisco, can be found at City Hall. City officials are working to increase the representation of women in city statues, and in the names of buildings, streets and parks. (Joshua Sabatini/S.F. Examiner)

A statue of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a former mayor of San Francisco, can be found at City Hall. City officials are working to increase the representation of women in city statues, and in the names of buildings, streets and parks. (Joshua Sabatini/S.F. Examiner)

SF to increase women’s representation in public art, building and street names

San Francisco plans to boost the number of women represented in public artwork as well as in other areas, like the names of streets and parks. The effort is being kicked off with a planned statue of the late poet Dr. Maya Angelou within two years.

Under legislation introduced by Supervisor Catherine Stefani The City would install by December 2020 a statue of Angelou at the Main Library.

The legislation, which was approved Wednesday by the Board of Supervisors Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee, sets a goal for The City to increase the percentage of women represented in works of art to 30 percent, as well as in the names of buildings, streets and parks.

City departments would need to regularly report on their efforts toward reaching that goal.

The legislation also establishes the Women’s Recognition Public Art Fund, which would accept private donations for the commissioning of public art depicting historically significant women and maintaining the the works. The fund could help pay for the Angelou statue.

The full board is expected to approve the legislation Tuesday.

Once approved, the Arts Commission will ask artists to apply to complete the Angelou public artwork, which is expected to cost about $400,000 plus a $100,000 maintenance endowment, according to Arts Commission spokesperson Kate Patterson-Murphy.

Angelou, who died in 2014, was an author and civil rights leader who grew up in the Fillmore District. She also became the first African-American female street car conductor in San Francisco..

“The Maya Angelou statue is a first step to accomplishing full representation of women in our city,” Stefani said. “When we see streets, public buildings and works of art we will finally see the women who have impacted the world.”

There are currently two of 87 sculptural monuments depicting nonfictional women, one of former mayor and current US Senator Dianne Feinstein in City Hall and the other of Florence Nightingale outside of Laguna Honda Hospital.

The legislation covers public works of art, buildings on city-owned properties and street names.

Elizabeth Newman, with the Department on the Status of Women, praised the legislation as “ an important effort to rectify the under-representation of women’s contributions to society and to also encourage women’s leadership in the future.”

“This is really important because art that recognizes historical people very often is recognizing white men,” Newman said.

Newman said she expected the monitoring of the effort will yield results. She said when The City started to track the number of women appointed to commissions and boards their representation increased.

“Women’s representation on Commissions and Boards in 2017 is 49 percent, equal to the female population in San Francisco,” according to the Status of Women’s most recent report.

The report notes that “Asian, Latinx/Hispanic, and multiracial individuals are underrepresented on Commissions and Boards.”

Under the proposal, departments like Public Works, Arts Commission and the Recreation and Park Department will have to list by October 1, 2019 on their websites all streets, buildings and building rooms, parks, plaques and public art named after or depicting historical figures.

The Department of the Status of Women will issue its first report by December 31, 2019, on the proportion of women recognized in each of these categories, followed by an updated report a year later.

“I am actually hoping we can get to 50 percent,” Stefani said.Politics

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Police Chief Bill Scott on Wednesday said a rebranding and reoganization of the former Gang Task Force amounts to “more than just the name change.” (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Faced with surge in shootings, Chief Scott reenvisions SFPD’s Gang Task Force

New Community Violence Reduction Team adds officers with community-policing experience

Stores including Walgreens and Safeway are required to pay their employees additional hazard pay under a city ordinance that is currently set to expire later this month. (Shutterstock)
Grocery workers could gain additional weeks of $5 per hour hazard pay

San Francisco will vote next week on whether to extend a law… Continue reading

Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays attends an event to honor the San Francisco Giants' 2014 World Series victory on Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Willie Mays turns 90: San Francisco celebrates the greatest Giant

By Al Saracevic Examiner staff writer I couldn’t believe it. Willie Mays… Continue reading

Ja’Mari Oliver, center, 11, a fifth grader at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, is surrounded by his classmates at a protest outside the Safeway at Church and Market streets on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in support of him following an April 26 incident where he was falsely accused by an employee of stealing. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
School community rallies behind Black classmate stopped at Safeway

‘When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us’

A warning notice sits under the windshield wiper of a recreational vehicle belonging to a homeless man named David as it sits parked on De Wolf Street near Alemany Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. A proposed SF Municipal Transportation Agency law would make it illegal for overnight parking on the side street for vehicles taller than seven feet or longer than 22 feet. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA to resume ‘poverty tows’ amid calls to make temporary ban permanent

Fines and fees hurt low-income, homeless residents, but officials say they are a necessary tool

Most Read