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.
Nov. 23, 2021
The statue, due to be unveiled on 21 May 2022 on Anning's 222nd birthday, was originally intended to be installed next to the Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis, but opposition caused a re-think and campaigner and Charity trustee Anya Pearson - who helped daughter Evie Swire launch the campaign - said the new location was "far superior" as it "sets Mary well and truly in the landscape where she worked". They say that
"We just have a period of consultation to go through where everyone can have their say.
This is where they would like you to help them out.
Tell Dorset Council why you think the statue of Mary Anning should be granted planning permission. Every comment from far and wide is so helpful.
The reference number is P/FUL/2021/04897 so you can go in and follow the consultation comments.
And if you click here it will take you to the page.
They have now given artist Denise Dutton the go-ahead to begin work on the full-size sculpture. Anya said the charity has had to start the process already because "If we didn't allow Denise to start, we would never hit our unveil date of 21st May 2022 so, although we don't have planning consent just yet, we felt it was the right thing to do."
Nov. 16, 2021
Mary Seacole Trust
St George’s Hall Charitable Trust in Liverpool is on a mission to install a statue of health pioneer, Mary Jane Seacole (1805-1881). Mary was voted the greatest black Briton in 2004. They believe that her outstanding achievements, as an influential black woman, a nurse, businesswoman and healer, deserve an enduring testament to our respect and recognition. She has been honoured by a statue outside St Thomas' Hospital in London. The Trust says "Her exceptional promotion of innovative health and medicine should be celebrated and perpetuated in Liverpool by raising a statue in her honour in St George’s Hall, as a continuing and constant reminder of her place in our nation’s history." Liverpool has already erected a fine statue of Kitty Wilkinson in 2012, known as " The Saint of the Slums" a pioneer in public health during a chloera epidemic in 1832.
Photo Clare Bates
The story of her promotion of new hygiene methods against disease has since been recognised by hundreds of thousands of in-person and online visitors to the Great Hall. The Trust say that the historic bravery of women like Kitty Wilkinson and Mary Seacole – their care, their kindness, and their leadership – stand as markers of what is best in our society, and that continues today in the dedication and fearlessness of our NHS and health care workers.
Nov. 16, 2021
Two new bronze statues to the Montana State Firefighters Memorial have been situated at at Fireman’s Park in Laurel, Montana. They are kneeling either side of the entrance gates of the memorial.
The statues are of one male and one female firefighter kneeling in remembrance of those Montana Firefighters who have given the ultimate sacrifice and died in the line of duty. This balance of gender representation is unusual, especially in a role so often associated with strong brave men. This shared tribute speaks to a changing awareness of the many vital roles that are played by women as well as men.
Nov. 13, 2021
From a distance, it’s a Victorian woman in a stiff crinoline. Get closer, and you’ll see that her skirts are actually a cliff-face studded with vignettes. How appropriate for the founder of the RSPB, whose work in safeguarding birds and their habitats continues until this day. Over 12,000 people from across the world voted in the competition between four short-listed sculptors. Eve Shepherd was a clear winner.
Eve said "Emily Williamson was one of those amazing women who has been forgotten because of her gender. This statue will be a triumph, a milestone, for how far we have come to balance the scales of equality for women within public sculpture, though we still have some distance to go. I am so very delighted and excited to have been selected to be part of this!"
" I feel humbled and privileged to sculpt such an important pioneer and eco-activist. She was a visionary; a quiet, yet stoic woman, who stood against the norms of her day. She co-created a legacy, the RSPB – a charity that has saved countless bird lives and protected precious natural habitats for future generations to enjoy. In my eyes Emily is a shining beacon of how we can save our fragile ecosystem in these unprecedented times'.
Social Historian Tessa Boase, who has done so much to bring this project to life, said: 'Sculptor Eve Shepherd is renowned for the depth of her research, and her iconoclastic approach to public artwork. Her statue of Emily Williamson will be an inspiring monument not just to a woman, but to the beauty and vulnerability of birdlife. If we want the next generation to cherish nature and to safeguard biodiversity, we need to engage young minds and hearts – through telling stories. This statue will contain a multitude of stories and species, drawing the viewer back again and again. Eve's proposed use of augmented reality technology to enhance interpretation will bring an exciting extra dimension." The aim for the augmented reality is to bring to life some of the vignettes sculpted in the skirts of the figure. The statue will stand in Fletcher Moss, Emily Williamson's garden in Manchester.
Nov. 9, 2021
This statue of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune will be representing the State of Florida in the United States Capitol’s National Statuary Hall Collection. It will be the first to represent an African American person from any state in the collection. The statue of Dr. Bethune is taking the place of an obscure Confederate general who has represented Florida since the Jim Crow era in the state collection in 1922 which was removed at the start of September this year.
The new statue is one of only a few women to represent a state in the 100-statue collection. It is due to be installed in 2022 and it is a concrete testament to the gradual changing of attitudes brought about by increased awareness of who - and what values - people increasingly want to see honoured in the USA. She founded Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor said she "embarked on her impactful career on equal rights, education, the advancement of veterans, and so much more. Dr. Bethune embodies the very best of the Sunshine State—Floridians and all Americans can take great pride in being represented by the great educator and civil rights icon.”
Oct. 17, 2021
photo; Patrick Lewes
A statue was unveiled in September 2021 in north London to commemorate the efforts of Windrush and Commonwealth NHS nurses and midwives, following a successful crowd-funding campaign. Commissioned by heritage organisation Nubian Jak, in collaboration with Islington Council and the Whittington Health NHS Trust, the monument was unveiled outside of The Whittington Hospital to an audience that included Islington’s mayor councillor Troy Gallagher, the area’s MP Jeremy Corbyn, NHS staff and former nurses and midwives.This granite statue of a women holding a baby finally commemorates the 40,000 Windrush and Commonwealth nurses and midwives who came to the UK between 1948 and 1973 to help the NHS. Without them it would have been very difficult for the NHS to have survived.
The granite sculpture of a woman holding a baby outside the Whittington hospital in Holloway was erected after a three-year campaign and crowdfunding effort by the Nubian Jak Community Trust and its founder, Jak Beula.“We finally have something that symbolises their experience,” he said. “We needed a legacy – a monument that people can visit that’s quite healing and inspiring and will be a symbol of pride, courage and dedication.” Cllr Una O’Halloran, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Community Development, said: “The contribution of this generation of nurses and midwives to this country and our health system cannot be overstated, and it’s vitally important that they are commemorated appropriately. “There are far too few monuments to this extraordinary generation, and we are proud, as part of our ambition to tackle inequality in our borough, to have supported the creation of this statue outside the Whittington Health”.
Oct. 17, 2021
Mexico City's governor has confirmed that a statue of an indigenous woman will replace the capital's Christopher Columbus monument.
The Columbus statue was removed in October last year after indigenous rights activists threatened to tear it down.
A statue in honour of 'Women who fight' was placed by feminist collectives on the empty pedestal.
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum announced on the Day of the Indigenous Woman, that it will be replaced by a replica of a pre-Columbian statue of an Indigenous woman known as the Young Woman of Amajac, to recognize the contributions of Mexico's native peoples.
She said that the Italian colonizer's legacy is seen through "two visions"; the Euro-Centric, and another that recognizes that civilizations existed in the Americas long before Columbus arrived. "We owe it to them and we exist because of them. It is the history of our country and our homeland."
The bronze Columbus statue was featured prominently on Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City's main avenue since the late 19th century. In October 2020, officials removed it from its pedestal for a scheduled restoration -- but they were also considering the legacy of the man it remembered, city officials said. This removal came in the wake of protesters toppling Columbus' statues in Latin America and the US.
Columbus, an Italian-born explorer who was financed by the Spanish crown to set sail on voyages of exploration in the late 15th Century, is seen by many as a symbol of oppression and colonialism as his arrival in America opened the door to the Spanish conquest.
This photo was released in January 2021 by Mexico's INAH showing the statue of a female figure recently unearthed in Hidalgo Amajac, in Alamo Temapache, Veracruz state, Mexico. To honor those pre-Columbus civilizations, sculptor Pedro Reyes will create a sculpture of an Olmec woman based on this ancient statue, about 3 times the size of the original. The Olmec people are thought to be one of the first major civilizations of what would become Mexico. "It's very important to dedicate a monument to indigenous women and to the Earth, because if anyone can teach us how to take care of this planet, it's our native peoples, and that is precisely what we must learn again," Reyes said in a statement, according to Mexican newspaper El Universal.
Oct. 10, 2021
Photograph: Gary Calton/The Observer
Sculptor Sam Holland is seen here with her sculpture of pioneering Labour MP Barbara Castle in Jubilee Square, Blackburn, where she served as labour MP for 34 years. Ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and former Conservative prime minister Theresa May donated towards the statue, which has been installed directly into the ground. “She didn’t want to be on a pedestal,” Holland explained. “She talked to people on the ground, so it was important that she was in amongst the people."
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner thanked her sister “ginger northerner” Baroness Barbara Castle for inspiring her own outspoken nature, as she unveiled a memorial to the former minister. Blackburn Council leader, Cllr Mohammed Khan, said:it was an important piece of public art for many reasons and that for him it will represent the spirit of Blackburn. Castle, who died in 2002 aged 91, spearheaded the legislation to promote equal pay for women, as well as the fitting of seat belts in new cars and the introduction of the breathalyser, leding to huge reductions on deaths and injuries.
Photograph: Gary Calton/The Observer
The Observer quotes Helen Lewis, journalist and broadcaster, who has written a series about the female MPs who came before Margaret Thatcher as saying “Barbara Castle is the best prime minister Britain never had. Her achievements were substantial – the breathalyser, helping create the Ministry of Overseas Development, equal pay – but what stands out most is that she was a fighter". “The Equal Pay Act, for example, was born out of the ashes of a humiliating defeat – her attempts to reform the trade unions. In the 1970s, when Jim Callaghan sacked her from the cabinet for being too old – she was only two years older than him – she left British politics and served as an MEP for a decade.”
The Guardian describes this memorial as "the latest in a string of commissioned works, slowly redressing the heavy dominance of male statues. Other recent moves to mark the lives of influential British women include London statues of Diana, Princess of Wales and of campaigning writer Mary Wollstonecraft, as well as the 2018 statue of suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst in Manchester."
See the 'Results' page for more recent statues of women.
Oct. 5, 2021
The first public sculpture of a black woman made by a black woman in the UK has gone on display in Bristol.
Henrietta Lacks had cancer and her cells changed the course of modern medicine. The cells taken from Ms Lacks, without her consent or knowledge, were the first living human cells to ever survive and multiply outside the body. They have allowed great strides in cancer research; some of the most important medical advances to date including the development of the polio vaccine, chemotherapy, gene-mapping, IVF, cloning and more recently for Covid-19 research. They became known as HeLa cells, taking the first two letters of Henrietta's first and last names.
The statue by Bristol artist Helen Wilson-Roe is a life-sized bronze and the unveiling marked the 70th anniversary of Henrietta's death. The artist said: "As a child growing up in Bristol there were no statues of Black women that I could identify with. So, knowing that my children and their grandchildren and great grandchildren will be able to see Henrietta's statue is just fantastic especially at this time when Bristol is starting to address its past."
The statue, commissioned by the University of Bristol was unveiled outside Royal Fort House in the campus grounds by Henrietta Lack's family. It is a fitting ripost to the sad history of the statue of the slave trader Coulston in the city, now removed and housed in their museum, no longer causing offence and hurt in the streets. In contrast this is a statue of someone who has contributed, via the work of researchers, untold good to the community and the wider world.
Sept. 29, 2021
The monument to pioneering educationallist, Betty Campbell, has been unveiled in Wales. Helen Molyneux, the founder of Monumental Welsh Women who helped start the campaign for the statue has said, "Our Mission is to celebrate female ambition and success by commemorating the achievements of great Welsh Women - and to inspire the next generation of great Welsh women.
Elaine Clarke, Betty Campbell's daughter, has said she is very proud that her mother will be remembered in such an iconic way. "The monument is a powerful piece that maps out in sculpture not just a likeness of Betty Campbell, but also the community she lived in and championed as well as the people and things that she drew inspiration from throughout her extraordinary life'.
The monument, by sculptor Eve Shepherd shows a bust of Betty resting on the trunk of a great tree, under which are sheltered children of all ethnicities, with space for other, real live children, to join them. From the outset this new commemoration has been a striking success, already loved by those who see it. It is the first of five "Hidden Heroines" of Wales to be commemorated by a public monument. "We were thrilled when Betty Campbell was chosen by the Welsh public to be the first Welsh woman to be commemorated with a statue in Wales. ( https://invisiblewomen.org.uk/gettingattention/post/144 ). Betty's impact during her life was incredible, but, as with so many women throughout history, likely to be forgotten or overlooked by future generations unless something was done to bring her to people's attention.
As Helen Molyneux, the founder of Monumental Welsh Women said "We were thrilled when Betty Campbell was chosen by the Welsh public to be the first Welsh woman to be commemorated with a statue in Wales. Betty's impact during her life was incredible, but, as with so many women throughout history, likely to be forgotten or overlooked by future generations unless something was done to bring her to people's attention.
"It is a truly iconic, beautiful piece that will attract the world's attention to Cardiff."
Aug. 7, 2021
This Year marks the 10th annual Re-Veiling ceremony of the H M Stanley in Denbigh. The ceremony has been performed annually by a band of supporters from Denbigh, North Wales and further afield since the H M Stanley statue by Nick Elphick was erected in 2011. And the two artworks – the Elphick statue, and the annual Re-Veiling of the statue - are now irrevocably combined, each meaningless without the other.
The Elphick statue on its own celebrates Stanley without questioning his role in the colonial history of the Congo as agent for the brutal regime of King Leopold II of Belgium during which 10 to 15 million Congolese people died. Documents from the period provide proof of Stanley’s own cruelty, and his approval of abuses by others. The Re-Veiling ceremony includes covering the sculpture with a giant rubber condom in a symbolic attempt to contain ideas and actions that lead to obliviousness of the suffering of others.
The Re-Veiling of the HM Stanley ceremony is part of a world-wide movement challenging public statues of figures of slave owners and colonialists. It aims to draw attention to the legacy of exploitation in countries like the Congo that were colonised for the extraction of natural resources and people for building imperial wealth. Black Lives Matter has shown us how the inherited wealth, values and guilt from that terrible period are still influencing our culture, our institutional structures and our deeply held beliefs today.
“Lest we forget”: Not just a question of keep or remove
This year, following the raising of awareness by the Black Lives Matter movement and the subsequent Welsh government audit of commemoration relating to the slave trade, the people of Denbigh are being asked their opinions on the fate of this statue. Some of the protestors think the statue should be removed completely, but others, particularly the artists in the group, think it is important to keep visible the true history of those times, with all its conflicts, contradictions, illusions and horror. As the artist Wanda Zyborska says
'the people of Denbigh and visitors to this historic town deserve to be told the whole truth'.
Remembering our history helps us to change our future. The artists protesting in Denbigh believe that when this statue is combined with the funeral performance it becomes something more nuanced, and thought provoking. That is why they think that if the statue is removed OR remains in place, it should include the full visual history of the statue, as is currently happening with the Colston statue in Bristol Museum, toppled and recovered from the sea.
Battered, paint spattered and fallen, the Colston statue tells a different and many would say more accurate story of the history of the man and his influence. It helps us remember, and change. The fate of the HM Stanley statue in Denbigh will symbolise what kind of society and future the people of Denbigh want to see.
June 15, 2021
Remember the guerrilla street re-naming in Holland last year?
Now Paris has followed in their footsteps.
Paris has about 300 statues of illustrious figures, of which only about 40 are women, mainly only busts, with just a few full size figures to represent "la matrimoine Parisienne"
Joan of Arc Edith Piaf Georges Sand
However, in an unprecedented move for the French capital, Paris is soon to see a statue of "Solitude"heroine of the resistance struggle of enslaved people in the French colony, Guadaloupe, and a symbol for all women who have fought for liberty and equality.
She will be the first black woman honoured by a statue in the capital and it will stand in a park in the 17th arrondissement, where there once stood a statue of General Dumas ( father of the novelist Dumas ) who was born enslaved in Haiti. His statue was removed and melted down by the Nazis.
From inVISIBLEwomen Annual Update 2021
June 12, 2021
This beautiful lively maquette of the Mary Anning statue, by Denise Dutton, was recently unvelied in Lyme Regis, showing Mary with her fossil hunting tools and her faithful dog. This is another great stride towards the erection of this long-awaited memorial to a ground breaking fossil hunter.
The campaign group are now working on the educational programme; the Mary Anning Rocks Learning Legacy, that will go along with the statue, so that she will no longer be one of the multitude of capable, creative and clever women, previousy left out of the history books.
June 11, 2021
A is for Aphra is the campaign for a statue in Canterbury to Aphra Benn, writer and spy, notoriuosly cut out of literary history, despite being a groundbreaker in writing. Virginia Woolf famously said, in A Room of One’s Own (1929) that, ‘All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn, which is, most scandalously but rather appropriately, in Westminster Abbey, for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds. It is she, shady and amorous as she was, who makes it not quite fantastic for me to say to you tonight: earn five hundred a year by your wits.’
"she claimed equal rights with men; she was a phenomenon never before seen, and, when seen, furiously resented.’
Hear more about her on BBC Radio 4 Front Row - https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000wsfz - click on 17.05 minutes into the interview to hear Charlotte Cornel from the campaign.
June 11, 2021
This engaging likeness of Suffragette martyr Emily Davison, seated on a marble bench, has been unveiled in the town centre of Epsom. She died trying to tie a Suffragette Ribbon to the King's Horse at the Derby in Epsom. Seen here with sculptor Christine Charlesworth who believes that sculptures should not be raised up on plinths, but should be approachable and easy to access.
The unveiling was covered on BBC Radio 4 Front Row, along with duscussion about the current changing attitudes to statues of women, and the campaign for a statue to Aphra Benn in Canterbury. She was the first professional writer in the English language but has no statue celebrating her achievements. Hear more about it on https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000wsfz Click on 17.05 minutes into the interview.