Updated poster, with acknowledgements to the original artist
H.M.Dallas and the kind permission of the Museum of London.
inVISIBLEwomen is a 'virtual museum' affiliated to the International Association of Women’s Museums. IAWM exists to bring together groups and projects working to enhance women’s visibility in the cultural field worldwide. For the 2019 International IAWM Conference in Istanbul inVISIBLE women ran a gender analysis tour around major groups of civic statues in the city.
Have you ever
- - wondered why there are so many public statues of men and so few of women?
- - considered what message that sends about the value placed on women and men?
- - dreamed of what it might be like to experience equality?
- - wished you could do something about that?
If the answer is 'yes' to any of the above, then inVISIBLEwomen.org.uk is for you.
27 May 2022: Margaret Thatcher
24 May 2022: Emmeline and her Mother
24 May 2022: Welcome Back, Mary Anning
inVISIBLEwomen is a catalyst for changing the status quo of gender imbalance in public monuments in the UK.
This site is taking a look at why it has been the case for so long and considers what kinds of solutions will best address the problem. This is the place to take part in building a clear statistical picture of the situation nationally and discover some practical solutions with artists' work to commission and some successes, both past and present to celebrate.
"Behind every great man there is a woman"
How long have we been hearing that backhanded tribute? And where would all those great men be without their mothers, sisters, wives, lovers and servants, without the essential but unseen support that paves the way that men stride along to achieve their greatness?
Equally true then, to say that in front of every great woman there is a man, or several men - possibly an entire 2000 year old patriarchy - getting in her way. In effect, rendering her invisible.
This persistent lack of recognition is nowhere more clearly and publicly marked than in the gender imbalance in civic statues. Judging by the majority of public monuments in the UK you might think that the only people worth honouring are old white men, often in official regalia, sometimes on a horse, possibly with a weapon, a book or a treaty to mark their military, intellectual or political feats. By contrast, female figures are largely semi-clad, often reclining, and typically depict a maternal, saintly or sexualised image of womanhood, rather than worldly achievements.
It is time to actively challenge these outdated images of gender. For centuries patriarchy has conveniently cast women in the role of society's 'ghost writers': doing the work, but getting no civic acknowledgement of all their essential contributions. Today's women know themselves to be the authors of their own lives, and this needs to be reflected in our public monuments. The lives and achievements of both the remarkable and the everyday women deserve equal recognition to those of men. It is time for all these "invisible" women to be made visible. Time for us to reinvent the message of the suffragettes, time now for: