Councillors forced to compromise on proposal to honour philosopher Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia

Councillors in Padua have agreed to install the first statue honouring a woman in the city’s historic centre, but it remains to be seen if the monument will be placed among the dozens of statues dedicated to men in the prominent Prato della Valle square, the Guardian reports.

The decision followed a fiery debate that further exposed the scarcity of statues celebrating women not only in Padua but across Italy.

Margherita Colonnello and Simone Pillitteri, the two councillors who submitted the motion, had to backtrack on their original proposal to place a statue of Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia – the first woman in the world to earn a PhD – on one of the two empty pedestals nestled among 78 statues paying tribute to men in Prato della Valle, the second largest square in Europe.

Piscopia, who received her doctorate degree in philosophy from the University of Padua in 1678, was not included when Padua officials devised a project in the late 18th century to adorn the central island of the 90,000-sq-metre square with statues of figures who were either from the city or who had links to it.

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