Italy: proposal for statue of first woman to get PhD sparks debate

Jan 05, 2022 322

BY: Angela Giuffrida

A proposal to insert a statue of the first woman in the world to earn a PhD among the 78 dedicated to notable male figures on a prominent square in northern Italy has stirred controversy. Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia received her doctorate degree in philosophy from the University of Padua in 1678.

But she was not included when Padua officials devised a project in the late 18th century to erect statues in Prato della Valle – the largest square in Italy – dedicated to illustrious historical figures who were either from the city or had links to it.

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