MeToo, One Year Later

Praise the Pioneers


A year ago, like a dormant volcano suddenly awakening and erupting, the voices of women rang throughout the world in the heat of a perfect hashtag, #MeToo. The denouncement of sexual harassment by a number of Hollywood actresses broke out of its local moviedom scope to become a much broader condemnation of the treatment as secondary citizens – when not the outright subjection – of women by most societies since time immemorial. The succinct proclamation #MeToo spread so rapidly that, just a few months after the first accusations against the film producer Harvey Weinstein and other famous actors, professionals of other fields – not excluding architecture – were being denounced too, in a movement that reached a peak with the worldwide feminist protests of 8 March, International Women’s Day, which in Spain, combined with a strike, was particularly successful.

Aligning itself with this process of asserting and defending the causes and rights of women, and coinciding with the exhibition of Lina Bo Bardi’s work in its gallery, the Juan March Foundation in Madrid held from 6 to 15 November a series of lectures on great female pioneers of modern architecture. Eileen Gray, Lilly Reich, Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, and Charlotte Perriand were presented by Beatriz Colomina, Carmen Espejel, Fuensanta Nieto, and Ángela García de Paredes, respectively. Four trailblazers who were confined to remain in the shadows of male masters like Ernst May, Mies van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier, but without whose contributions modernity would surely have developed differently.

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