Current media coverage, active campaigns, public involvement and creative interventions, in the debate that has been running since at least 1952.
If you are thinking of starting a campaign for a statue or memorial honouring women and would like to find some wonderful inspiration for ways of getting attention just check the tactics used in campaigns like those for Mary Wollstonecraft and Emmeline Pankhurst.
What a brainwave to project Mary Wollstonecraft's image on to the Houses of Parliament, a great way to get her in the public eye.
And imagine the power of organising a public vote like the one in Manchester to start the conversation and get a real sense from the wider public about who they truly value.
The energetic, effective campaign, led by engineer Jane Priston, to celebrate the astonishing achievements of pioneering aviator Amy Johnson resulted in not one but two beautiful, lively statues.
So that’s a thought to bear in mind; is there more than one place that is significant in the life of the person or group that you are campaigning for? Once the sculptor’s work is done, more than one cast can be made. We have such a lot of ground to make up in terms of the recognition of women that this is a strategy worth considering. Amy was important both to the people of Hull where she was born and in Herne Bay where she died.
Another clever feature of these statues is that even without a sound component they still allow Amy’s inspiring words to reach us through engravings of her words on the surface of the statue.
And for some food for thought from the USA take a look at the Moving On page for the Millie Dresselhaus video. Attitudes are changing everywhere.
The clever "Wifies" - www.wifie.org.uk - in Edinburgh made life size portraits (above) of the women they wanted to see honoured, then set them around the city: a real call to action.
Sheffield City Council used the “Just Giving” site as part of their fundraising efforts. They attracted 295 supporters and exceeded their goal of raising £150,000 and actually got £163,166. The campaign reached a highly motivated group of givers. One of the very many supporters who donated said she had made her donation:
“In memory of our lovely brave Mother, Mary Gilbert (Nee Broomhead) who worked in Munitions at Stocksbridge Steel Works during the Second World War. Remembering too, all these ladies, from both wars.”
With the extra money raised Sheffield City Council were able to strike commemorative medals to be presented to the surviving steel factory workers.
May 8, 2018
Unknown Welsh Woman
This unknown Welsh woman neatly illustrates the many unknown women whose achievements go unrecognised. Happily, the Welsh Government has £300k to mark the Centenary of Women’s Suffrage. Communities across Wales will be able to bid for grants for events to celebrate the achievements of women. In a statement to the National Assembly, Leader of the House, Julie James outlined a programme of activities to celebrate and recognise the achievements of women, that too often are almost invisible in our history. In the Autumn, the public will be able to vote to choose the Welsh women who they believe have been most inspirational. Two statues will be commissioned as a result of this project.
May 8, 2018
In February Edinburgh hosts the Audacious Women Festival. This year the inVISIBLEwomen took the banner on a tour around some of the city's 50 statues of men, to help raise public awareness of the campaign for a statue to Elsie Inglis, suffragette and founder of the Scottish Women's Hospital.
May 7, 2018
After noticing this "unusual example of commemoration of the daily life of women in public spaces" in Dublin, historian Sophie Cooper reflected on the historical and social significance of public memorials.
In the USA she noted that, similar to the situation in the UK, "According to the Smithsonian, only 10% of outdoor sculptures in the US portray women – and less than 2% of the National Park Service monuments" Sophie's view on commemoration of women says that "While men who contribute to war are often commemorated with specificity and heroism, women are anonymous and usually placed in supporting roles, regardless of the role that they actually carry out at the war and home fronts. If women are only shown as victims and (helpless) wives/mothers/sisters/daughters of war compared to their brave and heroic husbands/fathers/brothers/sons, it can skew how people approach history and who they expect should write it".
image from Sophie Cooper's history blog
This is a line of thought interestingly discussed by Lori Holyfield and Clifford Beacham in their paper Memory Brokers, Shameful Pasts, and Civil War Commemoration which investigates "The role of memory brokers in the commemoration process, both past and present, placing the com- memoration of the American Civil War within a shame-centered framework. Illustrations of the symbolic structure of the sites and ideological struggles to recognize the role of slavery as a cause for war, as well as the role of Black soldiers in the war’s outcome, may add to our understanding of U.S. race rela- tions, both past and present."
May 7, 2018
from The Observer spotted by Roving Reporter Lee Comer
and here are some of her suggestions for other women who do not have the memorials they deserve. All of these women appear on the inVISIBLEwomen "Waiting List" along with dozens of other wonderful worthy suggestions.
May 2, 2018
In Denmark, where most of the public statues represent white men, in March two artists unveiled this striking statue in tribute to a 19th-century rebel queen who had led a fiery revolt against Danish colonial rule in the Caribbean.This is said to be Denmark’s first public monument to a black woman, inspired by Mary Thomas, known as one of “the three queens.”
“I Am Queen Mary” - image from New York Times
Thomas, along with two other female leaders, unleashed an uprising in 1878 called the “Fireburn.” Fifty plantations and most of the town of Frederiksted in St. Croix were burned, in what has been called the largest labor revolt in Danish colonial history. It is another example of how the truth of a history hidden, erased, rendered invisible for decades can be made concrete and visible, another example of how women are now refusing to be airbrushed out of history.
This work is remarkable also for being a collaboration between 2 artists, Jeannette Ehlers and La Vaughn Belle. “This project is about challenging Denmark’s collective memory and changing it,” the Virgin Islands artist La Vaughn Belle, one of two principal forces behind the statue, said in a statement.
Jeannette Ehlers, left, and La Vaughn Belle - image from New York Times
May 1, 2018
Mary on the Green campaign has shortlisted two designs - by Maggie Hambling and Matrtin Jennings - for Mary Wollstonecraft, the ‘foremother of feminism’ statue, and is launching a petition calling for London Mayor’s support.
The campaign’s chair Bee Rowlatt told the Hackney Citizen: “We are trying to get recognition for this extraordinary woman who was actively annihilated from history.
“Mary Wollstonecraft was campaigning for women’s political representation 100 years before the suffragettes. She was also a leading human rights pioneer and the foremother of feminism. Her legacy is gigantic yet most people don’t even know who she is.”
April 30, 2018
from the i spotted by Roving reporter Anne French
MANILA, Philippines – A statue honoring women who were forced to work in Japanese military brothels during World War II was quietly removed from a busy seaside promenade in the Philippine capital, angering women's groups.
The rumour is that the removal has been prompted not by drainage works but because the Japanese do not like this permanent reminder of thier past abuse of Philipino women.
Last year, Osaka terminated its 60-year sister-city ties with San Francisco to protest a statue commemorating Asian sex slaves that was erected by California's Korean, Chinese and Filipino communities.
the San Franciso monument to "Comfort Women"
Again, we see the power of permanent tributes to the lives of women. Even national governments recognise the capacity to reach people with a 3 dimensional representation of past deeds and mis-deeds.
April 24, 2018
A new campaign has been launched to commission, fund and erect a statue of Virginia Woolf in Richmond-on-Thames where she lived from 1914 to 1924. This statue will be the first ever full figure life-size bronze depiction of Virginia Woolf. The target is £50,000. Perhaps this campaign could emulate the clever notion of having 2 statues cast from the original artwork, pioneered for the Amy Johnson statues in Hull and Herne Bay, and put the second casting of Virginia in Sussex where she lived so much of her life.
The author Anne Sebba, says on her blog, "Walking around London these days it’s hard not to be struck by the number of large, often life-sized bronzes in public places. In a selfie-obsessed generation, tourists can often be seen posing on the bench in Bond Street in between a rigid Churchill and Roosevelt. Yet a mere 3% of all statues in public places are of women. What a pathetically shocking statistic ..... How can we expect children to grow up with a healthy view of diversity and range of careers open to them if all they see around them are images of successful men?"
For latest camapign news see facebook VirginiaWoolfStatue
April 24, 2018
“Londoners are going to love it. They will be blown away” so said Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, speaking before the unveiling of the statue of Millicent Fawcett at a private viewing. “When you think of the great people in Parliament Square and when you realise that not one of them is a woman, it sort of begs the question, are we saying there haven’t been incredible women in the past? That our country hasn’t been built on the back of great women?”
Another great aspect of this project, instigated by feminist campigner Caroline Criado Perez, is that the whole process – from petition to project manager – has been made up of solely women.
“That should make us all incredibly proud,” Mr Khan said. “So the questions can’t be asked now: Are there any talented women sculptors? Are there any talented women project managers? Are there any talented women with ideas? We have thrown those questions out the window."
April 24, 2018
Now that the sarosanct space of Parliament Square has embraced its first female statue there is greater scope for more women to be properly comemorated. There is even government funding available this year to mark the anniversary of the suffrage movement, so if you have a plan for a statue in your area now is the time to get to work.
April 21, 2018
The Times today ( 21.4.18 ) tells us that Fearless Girl is going to have to be moved from her defiant pose in front of the Raging Bull on Wall Street "because city planners fear that her many admirers are creating a traffic hazard..."
Maybe they could consider changing the traffic flow and keeping Fearless Girl where she is since she is so obviously striking a chord with uch a lot of people? Or perhaps it is the very fact of the strong resonance of this small statue that has lead to the decision to move her on?
The stated aim of the work was to ecncourage the hiring of more women on corporate boards and one source says that over 150 women have been appointed since the arrival of Fearless Girl - whilst other commentators deride the idea that the artwork could have had any influence.
The artist who created Raging Bull is said to be planning to sue over the placing of Fearless Girl opposite the bull because it makes it look " adversarial " .. but the casual observer may conclude that the raging bull ( the clue is in the name ) seems pretty adversarial all by itself.
The power of the civic statue - never to be underestimated.
April 21, 2018
The statue of the suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett is to be unveiled 100 years after MPs passed a bill that gave some women the vote.
The unveiling in Parliament Square will take place on the 24th April, the first monument of a woman to stand in the central London location. The installation by Gillian Wearing, the Turner prize winner, will also feature 52 photographic etchings on tiles around the statue depicting 59 key women – and a few men – who were central in the push for women’s suffrage.
“I wanted the monument to be as inclusive as possible and to reflect that many women were involved in progressing the rights of equality, some of whom have never been publicly recognised,” Wearing said. “It is important to realise the battle for equality didn’t come easily. It was a long, hard, arduous struggle...”
The government committed £5m to fund celebrations for the centenary year last March. Around £1m is funding new statues of women including that of Fawcett and one of Emmeline Pankhurst in Manchester, the city’s first new monument to a woman in more than 100 years.
The Government Equalities Office announced in December that seven areas across England would receive a share of £1.2m to fund projects. But women’s groups have complained that applying for a £1.5m Women's Vote Centenary Fund for grassroots projects has been "unneccessarily difficult".
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has launched a #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign to “champion the fact that it is the achievements and contributions of women, from all walks of life, which make cities like London great”. The year-long programme of events includes a display of works by female artists on the Underground.“We want to mark the progress we’ve made in the last 100 years, but as importantly to use it as a springboard to go forward to fight gender inequality.”
March 20, 2018
Hazel Reeves' Cracker Packers are unveiled this month in Carlisle. The bronze statue celebrates the long history of women workers at the biscuit factory with two women workers - one from past times and one from the modern day - dressed in their respective factory uniforms.
It is all too easy to imagine that there is no funding for statues to women but this, and others recently erected, belies that idea. This statue is privately funded, including a contribution from Pladis, the global biscuit and confectionery company plus £65,000 from Sainsbury’s (as part of their development of a Carlisle superstore) and £5,000 from author Hunter Davies, who has a keen interest ( he wrote a book about workers at the factory ) in the history of the McVitie’s site.
March 13, 2018
There is a campaign for a memorial to Sarah Chapman, one of the leaders of the matchgirls strike at the Bryant and May match factory in Bow, East London.
Sarah is ringed in red in this photo.
The strike came about because of the "white slavery " practised by the factory owners. Bryant & May took 20% dividends and yet paid their workers ‘starvation wages’.
In 2000 their ground breaking action was memorialised by Lemn Sissay in a permanent poetry installation on the Olympic Park, 'Spark Catchers', celebrating the pioneering industrial action of the women and girls who, in 1888, went on the first un-unionised strike against poor working conditions, which helped spark a social revolution changing working conditions across Britain.
Hear the inspirational Lemn Sissay talking about 'Spark Catchers': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Vi_a0Xkddk
There will be a memorial walk in London in July, to celebrate 130 years since the strike victory.
For info about the campaign; firstname.lastname@example.org
Petition: Sarah Chapman
For the full story see - Matchgirl’s Strike of 1888_05032018.pdf
March 6, 2018
Looking forward to seeing you at WOW - Women of the World - on the Southbank, London this Friday 9th, Saturday10th and Sunday 11th
On Saturday, Mary on the Green will be with inVISIBLEwomen at WOW so do come by and say hello and add your support by signing their petition to Mayor Khan ( on the website https://www.change.org/p/sadiq-khan-a-statue-for-feminist-icon-mary-wollstonecraft-whereswolly-vindicationformary) or at WOW.