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.
Aug. 15, 2019
In 2019, while most can post selfies every day, woman in Iran are imprisoned for it. They are being imprisoned simply for daring not to wear a headscarf. This is a deep injustice, another of the attempts to subjugate and silence women. But in Iran and worldwide there is building resistence to this oppression.
This woman bravely created a "plinth" for herself to publicise the movement against the enforced wearing of a headscarf. Women singing is also outlawed, but on the 'My Stealthy Freedom' site many Iranian women post videos of themselves singing, becoming part of a chorus of voices raised for freedom.
July 21, 2019
Apart from the statue of footballer Lily Parr it seems that there are only 2 statues to other sporting women. It seems a very poor representaion of the countless sportswomen, champions in so many fields.
Twice Wimbledon champion Dorothy Round is remembered in a bronze statue. The 6ft structure of Dudley's 1930s star stands near the tennis courts in Priory Park.
Athletics Northern Ireland ©)
Athletics champion Dame Mary Peters, Pentathlon Olympic gold medalist in Munich 1972.
Her statue stands in Belfast, unveiled in June 2013.
July 21, 2019
Photo BBC News.
One of the early stars of English women's football has become the first female player to be commemorated with a statue. ( The Football Association said there were 110 statues of male players ). A life-size bronze sculpture of Lily Parr, who played professionally in the 1920s, was unveiled at the National Football Museum in Manchester in June this year. Parr, who died in 1978 aged 73, was the first woman to feature in the museum's Football Hall of Fame in 2002. Female participation levels surged during the First World War and Parr’s career began at a time when the women’s game overshadowed that of the men’s. A Boxing Day match in 1920 between her team and St Helens Ladies at Goodison Park was watched by a crowd of 53,000, with 14,000 more unable to get into the ground – yet the Football Association soon outlawed the game, deeming it "unsuitable for females". We can only wonder why?
Sculptor Hannah Stewart works on the Lily Parr statue. Photograph: PR/Solent News and Photo Agency
Tim Desmond, the National Football Museum's chief executive, described the statue by sculptor Hannah Stewart as "iconic and pioneering". Former England and Arsenal captain Faye White added: "It's important to see where the game has come from and what characters such as Lily did for the game in their time." The statue of Parr, commissioned by the Football Association sponsors Mars, will join strikingly few commemorating individual named sportswomen in the UK, where there are believed to be just two: double Wimbledon tennis champion Dorothy Round in her home town of Dudley and Olympic pentathlon champion Dame Mary Peters in Belfast. Gemma Buggins, Mars brand director, said: “Lily Parr was the heroine of her time in the sporting world. It’s an honour to be able to recognise her and commemorate the inspirational woman that she was...With England’s Lionesses preparing for this summer’s tournament, we hope the unveiling of the first ever female footballer statue spurs them on and gives them the motivation to go all the way.”
July 13, 2019
Image: (from left to right) Dr Catriona McAra (University Curator), Pippa Hale. Zsófia Jakab, Rachel Reeves (MP Leeds West), Briony Marshall, Wendy Briggs, Professor Simone Wonnacott (Vice-Chancellor).
Leeds Arts University's June exhibition showed the work of four artists shortlisted to create a new public sculpture to champion the achievements of women in the city of Leeds. The four artists were chosen in response to a project which aims to redress the gender balance of public sculpture in an innovative way, celebrating the achievements of the women of Leeds with an avant-garde approach. One artist will be commissioned to create the sculpture. The selected artists have developed models of their proposed designs which will be shown in the Blenheim Walk Gallery, alongside examples of work from other cities to highlight the broader context for women's visibility in the public realm across the UK. The exhibition coincides with a major fundraising campaign, which aims to find support both from the public and corporate sponsors keen to engage with the project.
July 13, 2019
Huge crowds turned out to see the statue of Oldham’s home-grown suffragette Annie Kenney unveiled in December 2019.
The public reveal at Parliament Square marked the centenary of the first women who were able to vote in a general election. Hundreds of people - including Oldham MPs, actor Maxine Peake,
school children and activists - marched with banners and a brass band through the town ahead of the unveiling.The bronze statue by sculptor Denise Dutton depicts the former mill worker wearing a 'Votes for Women' sash, ringing a bell. A working class woman from a poor background, Kenney was one of 12 children and worked in a cotton mill from the age of ten, where she lost a finger in a machine accident. She helped spearhead the campaign for universal suffrage and was imprisoned 13 times for the cause.
Together with Christabel Pankhurst, Kenney was arrested and jailed for three days for challenging then Oldham MP Winston Churchill and Liberal Sir Edward Grey about womens' voting rights.
May 24, 2019
A statue of Margaret Thatcher was finally approved early this year in her hometown of Grantham after the local council ignored a vandalism threat posed by the "motivated far-Left movement". Lincolnshire Police recommended the statue - which has been privately funded by Douglas Jennings, a leading UK sculptor - be placed on a "sufficiently high plinth" to deter attackers.
Councillors voted unanimously to approve plans for the £300,000 bronze statue of Britain’s first female prime minister to be erected in the centre of town. The work, which is currently said to be in storage at "a secret location", will be unveiled in the centre of Grantham at St Peter's Hill and will be over 6.4 metres tall.
May 23, 2019
The campaign for a statue to Sylvia Pankhurst, the suffragette and left wing activist, is going well with support from, amonst others, the fiesty Maxine Peake. There is active crowdfunding with ' justgiving' which accepts donations for the statue.
https://www.facebook.com/astatueforsylvia -Their FB page -also now has details of this related event on May 24th
Dangerous Women! An event intended to inspire young working people, especially young women, and trade union members from across London Trade Union Councils and union branches. Join us to celebrate women’s place in the workplace and remember those fantastic women who fought for dignity and equity in the work. Great Speakers. Celebrating 130 years of Working Women’s fight for freedom, organised by Islington Trades Union Council
For further information contact: Maria Jennings firstname.lastname@example.org
May 19, 2019
Fearless Girl has friends. From her 2017 unveiling in New York, facing up to the Raging Bull of Wall Street,
she and her message of empowerment for girls and women have travelled. In March she acted to mark International Women's Day, in Paternoster Square in the financial district of the City of London. The statue was chosen to promote women business leaders.
She now counts a Countess amongst her admirers as well as countless girls.
Fearless Girl also stands in Norway, South Africa and Australia.
Fearless Girl, with a slight change of clothing, was also installed in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Fearless Girl statue at Federation Square, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Fearless Girl is one of the most highly honored campaigns in the history of the Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity. The statue won 4 Grand Prix and 18 Total Lions this year at the Lions ad industry festival in France which only goes to show the potential power of a civic statue. There is obviously a great worldwide desire for such symbols of the strength of women and girls.
The world needs more fearless Girls.
Greta Thunberg, 15 years old, addressing the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Summit, a real life fearless girl.
May 19, 2019
This memorial to a truly funny, clever woman was a joint project between Bury Council and Victoria Wood's estate.
Comedian Ted Robbins and her brother Chris Foote Wood are pictured here with the statue of the much loved comedian, writer and actor. It stands in the gardens opposite Bury library in Greater Manchester where apparently, as a child, she stole books because she was too shy to ask the librarian about membership. In adult life she made a donation to the library as recompense.
You can't help but wonder what she would have to say about it.
May 19, 2019
The BBC checked the latest figures from the PMSA ( Public Monuments and Sculpture Association) and the percentage of named non-royal civic statues of women in the UK is still only around 3%
"Millicent Fawcett campaigned for women's right to vote, and now she has a statue in Parliament Square memorialising her and her achievements. But the suffragist's sisters in stone are more likely to be nymphs than intellectuals".
The total UK civic statues on the PMSA's records were 828, of which 174 were female, but only 80 of which were named, rather than nameless 'draped nymphs' etc. Of the 80 named statues of women, 38 were royal and 15 allegorical, leaving a mere 27 actual women honoured for their achievements. That's 27 out of 828 - just about 3% - to represent 50% of the population. One only has to "do the math", as the Americans say, to see the astonishing patriarchal bias.
There have been some very notable new statues of women this year but also new statues of men, so it's hard to say whether this inequality is actually improving. At least it is an issue that is now publicly recognised, by this BBC article, by the shocking 'Global Citizen' headline "There Are More Statues of Goats Than Real Women in the UK" and in statements such as that of the Plymouth sculptor of "Messenger" who noted the acute imbalance of the portrayal of women and men in civic statues.
Whilst this may all seem not to be the most pressing issue, it does act as a sort of litmus test of the value our society places, or fails to place, on women. This is an issue explored in Caroline Criado Perez's latest book, Invisible Women.
Her thesis is that the pronounced data bias in all the major fields of research leads to a world that is designed for men. Women are routinely ignored in research which is based on men's bodies, interests and experience so the results do not work for women. Just a couple of examples from the book tell us that "only 10.8 per cent of pages in a political science textbook references women, and that in health research, female bodies are often excluded from clinical trials". This exclusion can result in poorer health outcomes for women whose bodies are not taken into account when drugs and treatments are designed.
It was Caroline Criado Perez who lead the campaign for the statue of Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square and it is no coincidence that this book has been her next project, because there is a clear link between who we honour in our civic statues and how we respect one half of the population and fail to respect the other.
This has real consequences for us all. Listen to the interview on Start The Week, BBC Radio 4, Monday 20th May.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m00055m9 ( at 16 mins 16 seconds )
May 19, 2019
"Her they must not mourne in silence. They must take the torch from her and light the darkness of craft and cruelty"
These were Isabella Mc Keown's words at Mary Clarke's memorial service in Brighton and they are being heeded and acted upon today. The campaign for a statue to the Suffragette Mary has cross-party support from both Brighton's Green MP Caroline Lucas, and Labour MP Peter Kyle and Maria Caulfield the Conservative MP for Lewes.
Here Caroline Lucas spoke in support of the campaign whilst unveiling a blue plaque to the site of the WSPU's Brighton headquarters, where Suffragette campaigns were organised. The appeal for a statue to this brave woman, the first to die for the cause of women's suggrage, now has a local giving site where donations can be accepted.
for more information see the ealrier post on March 30th - https://invisiblewomen.org.uk/gettingattention/post/119
April 10, 2019
image: Jane Austen Centre
A life-size statue of Jane Austen, based on a waxwork believed to be a very close likenes, will be installed in Bath, where the author lived between 1801 and 1806. Managing director of the Jane Austen Centre, Paul Crossey said it was "fitting that Jane Austen should be honoured in the city. It will also be good to go a little way to redress the fact that less than 3% of all statues in the UK are of historical, non-royal women,"
Two of her books - Northanger Abbey and Persuasion - are set in the city and Bath is mentioned in her other completed novels, including Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Emma.
April 1, 2019
If you ever wondered whether statues have any effect on behaviour, here's a small example.
March 30, 2019
An appeal has been set up to fund a statue of suffragette Mary Clarke in Brighton, as a symbol for the city of equality, democracy and women’s rights.
Mary Clarke, a WSPU organiser for the Brighton area and Mrs Pankhurst’s sister, has been described as the “first woman martyr who has gone to death for this cause”. She was the first of three women to die following Black Friday, before the more famous death of Emily Wilding Davison under the King’s horse on Derby Day 1913.
Mary Clarke lodged with suffragette Minnie Turner at her Brighton boarding house and was active in building the WSPU in the South East. She organised meetings, chairing and speaking at rallies at both Hove Town Hall and at the Dome.
There is no memorial to this woman who Emmeline Pankhurst mourned as her “dearest sister”. She was a survivor of domestic abuse, and became a formidable organiser and activist, imprisoned and force fed, loved for her kindness and admired by fellow prisoners for her quiet strength, a brave woman who could handle “Brighton rowdies” with courtesy. But she has simply vanished from history. She died of a brain haemorrhage following street violence of the Black Friday march to Parliament and the effects of force feeding in prison.
Brighton has statues of the ubiquitous Queen Victoria, the symbolic Peace Angel and some anonymous women in drapery at the foot of the clock tower ( seemingly just as decoration? ) as well as several named men, but not a single named woman remembered for her achievements, so surely this is the first woman eminently worthy of a memorial in the city.
To support the appeal see details in the following post
March 29, 2019
Image: Ben Birchall/PA
This is Messenger, a giant bronze sculpture depicting a female actor and the largest bronze sculpture created in the UK using the ancient process of lost-wax casting. Even before it had been craned into place outside the Theatre Royal Plymouth it was attracting a mixture of praise, anger and ribaldry. Perhaps this is because it is the largest statue of a woman in the country and constitutes a challenge to preconceptions about women by not sticking to the usual approach to the female figure which tends to be far more restrained, more "ladylike"?
The sculptor, Hillier, said he felt it was important the sculpture was of a woman, to counter the many male statues that dominate in Plymouth and other cities – something the #MeToo movement has made all the more relevant. “To represent a woman at this scale and in public space has turned out to be a more revolutionary proposition than I had first considered it … at a moment in our history when female actors have transformed the consensus in western society, about the position of women professionally and generally.”
Adrian Vinken, the chief executive of the theatre said “A major piece of public art can transform the world’s perception of what a place is like. It makes a statement about a city – it’s ambitious, it’s contemporary and it’s forward-looking.”