getting attention

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.

Amy Johnson

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.

Amy Johnson statue text

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.

Amy Johnson statue text - Believe nothing to be impossible

Changing Attitudes

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 Pankhursts

The clever "Wifies" - - 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.

Workers United.

Dec. 7, 2018

A statue paying tribute to Scunthorpe steelworkers was unveiled in the centre of the town in November this year.

The sculpture signifies the importance of the steelworkers to the town’s growth and the roles that women played in the works, especially during the wartime period. The artwork, by sculptor Ray Lonsdale, depicts a man and a woman returning home with a bicycle after a shift in the town's steelworks during the 1940s. Volunteers in North Lincolnshire spent seven years raising £48,00 towards the cost of constructing the two life-sized figures on top of a plinth

The former mayor of Scunthorpe, Jim Pearson, 70, who is also a retired steelworker and chairman of Scunthorpe Steeltown Team,  said: "We need something to represent all the former steelworkers and show some kind of recognition to current workers."

The 'Saint of the Slums' Honoured

Dec. 7, 2018

A marble statue was unveiled in Liverpool in September, in memory of Kitty Wilkinson, known as the saint of the slums. Hers will be the only female statue in St George's Hall and will join 12 statues surrounding the Great Hall depicting Victorian and Edwardian men.


Kitty cared for the sick during the cholera outbreak in 1832, turning her own home into a wash house, allowing neighbours to wash and disinfect their bedding in her kitchen. She taught that cleanliness was a weapon against disease. After the epidemic she became superintendent of the Public Baths and Wash House in Frederick Street, established by the city council in 1842.

London-based sculptor Simon Smith made the statue from Italian marble, and took two years to create at a cost of £100,000.

83% Want Virginia in Richmond

Dec. 7, 2018

A campaign for the first life-size bronze statue of the writer Virginia Woolf has been given full planning permission by Richmond Council, after 83% of Richmond residents who responded to a public consultation backed the sculpture. Aurora Metro, the arts and education charity behind the project, believes that a full-size statue of the writer is long overdue. “As James Joyce, the other leading Modernist writer has long had a full-size statue in Dublin, it’s time that we honoured Virginia Woolf’s contribution not only to English literature but also to the on-going debate concerning female equality.” says Cheryl Robson, director of the charity.

In the year that the Suffragist, Millicent Fawcett, was commemorated with a statue in Parliament Square in London and 100 years since some women were first given the vote, the call for more women to be honoured in sculpture form is louder than ever

Now that full planning permission has been granted, Aurora Metro needs to raise the required £50,000 for the statue to become a reality. The charity has a fundraising page, as well as a campaign video here. You can follow the progress on Facebook at @VirginiaWoolfStatue and Twitter at @VWoolfStatue and join people like Neil Gaiman in lending your support to the campaign.


San Francisco Sets Quotas.

Dec. 7, 2018

Almost all of San Francisco’s statues are of men, so the city Is setting a quota for statues of women. The first new statue under the ordinance—only San Francisco's fourth of a non-fictional woman—will be of poet Maya Angelou.

Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, Maya Angelou (1993). Photo of Courtesy Swann Auction Galleries.

“Across our nation, women are underrepresented not only in leadership positions but also in public spaces,” said Catherine Stefani, of San Francisco’s board of supervisors. “The accomplishments of great women deserve to be recognized alongside the accomplishments of great men.” 

“The Maya Angelou statue is a first step to accomplishing full representation of women in our city,” Stefani told the San Francisco Examiner. “When we see streets, public buildings and works of art we will finally see the women who have impacted the world.”



An Update on Emmeline

Dec. 7, 2018

The proposal to move the statue of the suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst  from near the Houses of Parliament to the private Regent’s University London in Regent’s Park has been withdrawn after widespread anger.The Emmeline Pankhurst Trust, a non-profit group led by the former Conservative MP Sir Neil Thorne, submitted a proposal in July to “carefully dismantle” the existing statue and move it elsewhere. 

The proposal was immediately protested against. The planning application received more than 890 comments, almost all of which were critical. Caroline Criado Perez, who led a successful campaign to have the statue of Millicent Fawcett erected in Parliament Square, called the proposed move “an act of vandalism against women’s history”. The location was "specifically chosen by the suffragettes. I felt very strongly that their wishes should be respected and that it was completely wrong to move the statue to the grounds of a private college.

Alison McGovern, the chairwoman of the House of Commons works of art committee, said: “I am delighted that the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst will remain in its rightful place outside parliament, the place she campaigned for women to enter. There are so few images of women in Westminster as it stands, and removing hers would have been a blow to women’s representation and the history of the campaign for universal suffrage.”

San Francisco Stands Firm.

Dec. 7, 2018

Photo Justin Sullivan

This monument has stood in San Francisco since September 2017. It depicts young women from Korea, China and the Philippines standing on a pedestal holding hands, commemorating the tens of thousands of “comfort women” who were detained and raped by Japanese soldiers before and during World War II. A statue of Kim Hak-sun, a Korean activist, gazes up at them.

But the view from Osaka, Japan, of the memorial has been critical. The controversy boiled over as Osaka officially severed its sister-city partnership with San Francisco. Osaka’s mayor, Hirofumi Yoshimura, followed through on a threat issued a year ago to end his city’s longstanding relationship with San Francisco in protest of the monument, saying it presented a one-sided message.

“I earnestly request that you promptly remove” the memorial and an accompanying plaque “without further delay,” Mr. Yoshimura wrote, according to an emailed copy of the letter. He added that he would revive ties with San Francisco if they were removed from city property.

'Curious Footsteps'

Dec. 6, 2018



In Istanbul the Su Gender Department of the University run "Curious Footsteps" walks around the city, telling the stories of those whom history disregards; the minorities, the LGTBQ, the undocumented. In telling the story of the first Muslim actress, Afife Jale, an unexpected result occurred. Afife was ostracised by her family and community for her career choice but went on to become very successful.  She acted in an Istanbul theatre which has latterly become the Rex Cinema. The walking group always stops at the cinema to tell her story. Imagine their surprise to find a bust of the actress installed there.

Curious footsteps group celebrate the installation of the bust

It seems that the repeated telling of her story inspired an architect to sculpt her bust and donate it to the cinema who agreed that it should be installed on the spot where the Curious Footsteps groups come to hear the tale of the brave and famous Afife Jale.

This is one way for us to ensure that women are not airbrushed out of history.

Emily Davidson who Died for Our Right to Vote

Dec. 5, 2018

This tireless campaigner for women's right to vote, Emily Wilding Davison, is reported to have gone on on hunger strike 49 times. In total, the dedicated suffragette was detained in prison nine times. The empty bowl in the statue represents her refusal to eat. 

 Statue by Ron Lonsdale Photo The Guardian

A statue of the suffragette, who was trampled to death by the Kings horse has been unveiled in Morpeth, Northumberland.

Photo The Guardian

Although an annual commemoration of Davison’s life is held at St Mary’s church in Morpeth, there has been no prominent memorial to her life and achievements – except her grave. It has taken 100 years for this fitting tribute to her sacrifice has been erected.

25 Fabulous Women

Dec. 3, 2018

Between June-July 2018 the put her forward team travelled England asking the public to nominate women they found inspirational.Here are just 3 of the 25. See them all at

Dr Leyla Hussein Leyla is a psychotherapist and self-defined ‘accidental campaigner’ who has provided support for survivors of FemaleGenital Mutilation (FGM) for over 15 years

Jean Bishop Now on display at AGE UK Hull.  Jean, known affectionately as “The Bee Lady”, has been volunteering for Age UK Hull for more than 30 years dressed in her bee costume.

Phyllis Opoku-GyimahUnveiled Friday 14th September at 4pm at Historic England's Immortalised Exhibition at the Workshop in London Phyllis, also known as Lady Phyll, is the powerhouse behind UK Black Pride and has been one of the most visible lesbian women of colour in the UK.

Hundreds of nominations were gathered through workshops, online nominations and live interviews, and from these 25 were selected to be 3D scanned and printed into small statues. These small statues seem like the perfect maquettes for full-size civic statues to be seen out on the streets, where we can all be inspired by the work of these wonderful women.

Barbara Castle Statue Campaign

Nov. 28, 2018

There is a new campaign for a statue to Barbara Castle, who was M.P. for Blackburn from 1945 - 1979 ( and a feisty campaigner herself ) The staue is to express thanks for everything she did for us all, not least in terms of workers rights and the Equal Pay Act. An impressive £20,000 has already been raised and a site has been secured in Blackburn Town Centre.
FOLLOW this campaign on [1]


'Messenger' UK's Biggest Bronze!

Nov. 26, 2018

Well hallelujah! Size isn't everything, but how great that this new sculpture in Plymouth will be the country's biggest bronze - and it will be a woman. The 7m (23ft) sculpture, called 'Messenger', will be installed outside the Theatre Royal.

Sculptor Joseph Hillier was inspired to create it by an actor rehearsing Shakespeare's Othello at the theatre. He said its name refers to the "pivotal" role of a performer to "breathe life into words". The sculpture, commissioned by the theatre, has a working title of Bianca after the character whose "split-second pose" is the basis for the piece.

"This work offers a young, powerful woman, a potent force about to transform the world by her actions," Mr Hillier said."The actor ...carries a message...It's a metaphor for what great theatre does".

'Messenger', will be unveiled next year in front of the Theatre Royal. It will be so huge that when he is lying down the sculptor is the same size as one of its feet.

He told the Press Association that the piece will be the largest bronze sculpture in the UK by volume  – at 25.6 metres cubed and will weigh nine and a half tonnes. Speaking on Radio 4 Hillier said that when he looked around Plymouth he saw so many statues of men that he decided to choose a woman for his subject.

Evie, 11 years old, Campaigns for Mary Anning

Nov. 13, 2018

She couldn't believe that someone as important as the pioneering fossil hunter, Mary Anning had no statue. Evie Swire ( who is the same age as Anning was when she found her first fossil ) has started a campaign for a statue to be built of the working-class Victorian woman whose discoveries helped to shape the theory of evolution. She has secured the backing of Sir David Attenborough.

Out of This World

Oct. 27, 2018

VIEW is a project in Aberdeen, part of the Visual Arts and Culture Programme at University. The event marks the centenary year of the Representation of the Peoples Act 1918 and celebrates the achievements of some of the very many women still overlooked by history. There will be activities and a talk - all free - a participatory performance on Castlegate, making artworks to celebrate the achievements of women over the last 100 years of suffrage.

The talk will cast a beady feminist eye on how UK civic statues give the impression that it is almost only men who have ever done anything worth commemorating and how that is changing with great women - activists, reformers, and pioneers - begining to be honoured at last.

Come along and take part - click on link below.

Historic England Protests for Mrs Pankhurst

Aug. 30, 2018

Historic England have described the attempt to move the Statue of Mrs Pankhurst from her site near Parliament as "arbitrary " and have objected to the move suggested by the Pankhurst Trust. They criticise the proposed new site for this listed statue as having 'limited public benefit' due to its "private nature". In effect, the move would steal this relatively rare statue of a women, honoured for her contribution to the cause of universal suffrage, from the public view. It would hide her away - render her virtually invisible. 

Mary Anning Rocks!

Aug. 24, 2018

Girl Power Kick Starts Campaign

The campaign fo a permanent statue in Lyme Regis in honour of the famous fossil hunter Mary Anning has passed another milestone and gained unanimous council approval. Set in motion when fossil mad Evie Swire asked her mum, Anya, why there wasn't already a statue of Anning in the town 'as she is amazing'. So Anya then met with town and district councillor Cheryl Reynolds who said "A statue for Mary has always been something we wanted to do for the town, we just needed the energy and the girl power of the young to kick start it," 

''We are very good at immortalising men in this country," said Anya. "But when it comes to remembering and celebrating.. remarkable .. women .. we are, sadly, really bad at it." So who are our boys and girls looking up to? Mary Anning is a perfect example and a statue to her is long overdue."

The #MaryAnningRocks campaign is looking for local people, schools and businesses to help with the project.

For more information and to contribute, tweet @MaryAnningRocks

or contact Cllr Reynolds directly on