Hey, I am Lena, and this article collaborates with my sending organisation from France, Intercultura. 

The project’s name is a play on words with “ruelle”, which means “little street”. 

Rue” means “streets“, and “elles” is the subject pronoun for “she” in the plural.

To understand better, I invite you to read on :

RUE-ELLES is a project that aims to shed light on and enhance women’s history in Europe by collecting photographs of street signs. The aim is to promote access to fundamental human rights through the stories of these more or less anonymous women.

The biographies tell the stories of women who have worked for the common good in different fields: education, medicine, pedagogy, justice, astronomy, care of the poor, social science, physical science, chemistry, peace education, theology, politics, sport, plastic arts, journalism, music, literature.

The project was originally conceived to promote the history of women’s access to rights.

For example, in France, women have had the right to vote since 1944 and have been financially independent since 1965.

Even if equality between men and women today tends to become real, it is still far from being achieved. The situation of access to rights for women in France is nevertheless privileged if we compare it with other countries where women still do not have access to fundamental rights.

In this sense, we went in search of “famous” women in each of the countries of the European Union. However, the notion of celebrity is relative because women have never historically been in the limelight.

The women of Europe who have played an important role in history are numerous, and we were able, through this project, to pay tribute to them.”

We will focus on three streets in the city of Thessaloniki, but first, I will explain in a few lines the origin of it.

Thessalonike, King Cassander's wife

Thessaloniki is the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of Macedonia. It was founded in 315 BCE by King Cassander and named in honour of his wife, Thessalonike, half-sister of Alexander the Great. She was a Macedonian princess, the daughter of King Philip II of Macedon by his wife or mistress, Nicesipolis.

Μελίνας Μερκούρη

street sign about Melina Mercouri

Melina Mercouri 

Μελίνα Μερκούρη

Melina was born on 18 October 1920 in Athens and died on 6 March 1994 in New York.

Melina Mercouri's photo

She was a Greek actress and political activist: the minister of culture in her country’s first socialist government in 1981 and the first woman to hold the post.

Mercouri comes from a politically influential family. She graduated from the drama school of the National Theatre of Greece. At 20, her first significant role was Lavinia in Eugene O’Neill’s Grieving Gets to be Electra. Still, perhaps her most important roles were Blanche in A Streetcar Named Crave and the good-hearted prostitute in the film Never on Sunday (1960). This film gave her universal recognition, which would serve her well in legislative matters. Her association with legislative issues was activated by her resentment of the military overthrow that brought a small group of armed forces colonels into control of Greece in 1967.

Λεωφόρος Βασιλίσσης Όλγας

street sign about Olga Costantinovna

Olga Constantinovna of Russia 

 Όλγα Κωνσταντίνοβνα της Ρωσίας

Olga Constantinovna of Russia was born on 3 September 1851 and died on 18 June 1926. 

olga Constantinovna of Russia's photo

She was Queen Consort of Greece as the wife of King George I and briefly regent of Greece in 1920.

A member of the Romanov dynasty, she was the eldest daughter of Archduke Konstantin Nikolayevich and his wife, Princess Alexandra of Saxony-Altenburg. She spent her childhood in St. Petersburg, Poland and the Crimea and married King George I of Greece in 1867, when she was 16. At first, she felt uncomfortable in the Greek kingdom but soon devoted herself to social and charitable activities. She founded hospitals and schools, but her attempts to promote a new, more accessible Greek translation of the Gospels caused unrest among religious conservatives.

Σοφίας Βέμπο

street sign about Sofias Vebo

Sofía Vémbo 

Σοφία Βέμπο

Sofía Vémbo was born on 10 February 1910 in Gallipoli and died on 11 March 1978 in Athens. 

She was a Greek actress and singer.

Sofia Vembo's photo

After the “Great Catastrophe”, her family migrated to Greece, to Volos.

She began her singing career in 1930 in Thessaloniki. After the Second World War, she ran her theatre in Athens.

She was one of the figures of the cultural resistance during the Nazi occupation. As a reward, the Greek army granted her the rank of major.

She played in The Refugee by Togo Misrahi in 1938, Stella, femme libre by Cacoyannis in 1955, and 288 Stournara Street by Dínos Dimópoulos in 1959.

Post Author: Lena Foligné

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