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.

Sporting Chance of Fair Representation?

Feb. 5, 2020

Back in 2012 Sure Maximum Protection polled Brits to uncover the top ten influential and strong British women that the nation would like to see celebrated for their lifetime achievements. Dame Kelly Holmes topped the vote, with Jessica Ennis the one to watch for future commemoration. Janet Street-Porter commented: “This research shows that successful women – past and present – are completely under-represented when it comes to the number of official statues in the UK. We should look to reverse this trend going forward to ensure influential women and role models such as Dame Kelly Holmes and JK Rowling, as well as stars in their prime like Jessica Ennis, receive the fitting tribute they truly deserve.” To help rectify the balance, Sure Maximum Protection has created a life size statue of Dame Kelly Holmes, who topped the list, and donated it to her hometown of Pembury in Kent, but after controversy about its lack of likeness to Dame Kelly it currently stands in Portman Square, central London.

The poll found that top 10 women Brits would most like to see celebrated with a statue for their achievements are:

1. Dame Kelly Holmes (24 per cent)
2. JK Rowling (22 per cent)
3. Joanna Lumley (14 per cent)
4. Dame Vivienne Westwood (9 per cent)
5. Adele (7 per cent)
6. Katie Piper (6 per cent)
7. Kate Winslet (6 per cent)
8. Karren Brady (2 per cent)
9. Nigella Lawson (2 per cent)
10. Victoria Beckham (2 per cent)

Reported in Sportsister

The Women’s Sports Magazine

She was also honoured in Tonbridge Kent, where the figure is said to be a southern 'answer' to the Angel of the North.


The Power of the Civic Statue.

Jan. 6, 2020


Kim Seo-kyung and Kim Eun-sung, Statue of a Girl of Peace (2011). Courtesy of the artists.

Yet again the power of a simple statue has made its mark. There was a political furore over the showing of a statue commemorating the so called "Comfort Women" in Japan. These women were actually enforced sex slaves of the Japanese forces, still uncompensated for thier ordeals.  

'Three days after the 2019 Aichi Triennale kicked off in Japan, an exhibition at a museum in Nagoya was shut down after organizers received dozens of threats... over the inclusion of a statue of a “comfort woman,” a Korean woman who was forced to serve as a prostitute, or ianfu, in Japanese brothels during World War II. The subject remains highly controversial in Japan and has been a source of tension between the country and South Korea, which claims that Japan needs to do more to compensate the descendants of the victims of sexual slavery.'

When objections to the inclusion of this statue were raised other Triennieal Artists withdrew their work in solidarity "85 of the nearly 100 participating artists issued a statement requesting that the show be reopened under proper security measures. Ten artists, including Pedro Reyes and Tania Bruguera, also demanded that their own works be removed from the triennial in solidarity with the censored sculptors. A Spanish collector who is creating a permanent home for art that has been censored just made his latest high-profile acquisition. Tatxo Benet bought the sculpture censored from Japan’s Aichi Triennale earlier this month. Ironically, the piece was removed from an exhibition about censored art." The sculpture, which has caused controversy in the past, is now destined for Benet’s planned “freedom museum” in Barcelona, a hub for contemporary art that has been banned or suppressed in countries around the world.

Never doubt the lasting political power of the civic statue.

First Female MP Finally Acknowledged

Nov. 29, 2019


Nancy Astor was the first woman to take her seat in parliament in 1919 and it is only now, 100 years later, that she is finally being honoured in her Devon constituency of Plymouth. The impressive campaign for this statue shows just how possible it is to redress the historic attitudes that choose ignore women's achievements. On their site, the organisers acknowledged that a common response to their efforts was “To be honest with you, we never thought you’d do it,” But they smashed their Crowdfunder target after 89 days when almost 1,000 people together had raised more than £125,000 but, "more than that, they had raised the spirit of a city and beyond." and  this kind of community effort does produce more than a monument. This great effort has galvanised a whole community and Great Western Railway has named a train ‘Nancy Astor Express’ – one of GWR’s ‘First Great Westerners.

Theresa May, who unveiled the statue, said Astor had been forced to withstand the jeers and bawdy jokes of male colleagues – and the lack of female toilets – when she arrived in the Commons in 1919, but she had paved the way for future women MPs. Her perseverence has been reflected in the determination of the women of Plymouth to have a memorial of this ground-breaking politician.
Theresa May also said “We don’t have nearly enough monuments to the great women of our past. I’m pleased we’re starting to put that right.” So, it's good to have yet another prominent supporter for the cause of all the inVISIBLEwomen.


The Quiet Martyr to be Honoured

Nov. 25, 2019

Mary Clark, suffragette sister of Emmeline Pankhurst underwent great hardship to secure votes for women: imprisonment and brutal force feeding as well as rough manhandling at protest marches. As a result of all these aggressions she died on Christmas Day 1910, the first woman to die for the suffrage movement. She is now, finally, more than 100 years after her death, to be honoured by a statue in Brighton where she tirelessly organised, attended and spoke at meetings and rallies.

It has just been announced that the sculptor will be Denise Dutton, whose work includes both Annie Kenney in Oldham

Annie Kenney in Oldham by Denise Dutton

and the Land Girls and Lumber Jills at the Arboretum in Staffordshire.

Land Girls & Lumber Jills in Staffordshire, by Denise Dutton

The campaign, lead by Jean Calder in Brighton, now has its own website - - and donations, for what will doubtless be another beautiful statue by Denise Dutton, can be given via the 'localgiving' site.

Jean Calder, Campaign Leader, Terri Bell-Halliwell, inVISIBLEwomen and Denise Dutton, Sculptor
It is a pleaseure to see this campaign, with both  popular and all party support, in my own city. Brighton has various named men honoured in statues but apart from the ubiquitous Queen Victoria ( twice! ) no named women. Mary Clarke is a most worthy choice for our first women.

South West Improves Representation of Women by 100%

Nov. 15, 2019

image: Plymouth Herald. Lead campaigner Alex Bowater

Only this week  I was looking at the 'Mary Anning Rocks' campaign site and was saddened by the fact that, when it was written, there was only one statue ( a bust of Agatha Christie ) to a named woman in the whole of the South West. Today I see that this month there will be a statue erected to Nancy Astor, our first female MP to take her seat in Parliament.

image: Plymouth Herald. Nancy Thomson Head of Metalwork

The campaign held an appeal, launched by Plymouth Women in Business Networking, to fund a statue. Impressively, they raised £131,000 in three months! The aim was to have the statue in place in time for the 100th anniversary celebrations of Lady Astor's election in November this year. It is to be unvieled on November 28th on Plymouth Hoe. In tandem with this new statue a new Intercity Express Train will also be named after the first female MP.

A Role Model that Rocks!

Nov. 12, 2019

Evie Swire, 11 years old, is the inspiration for the 'Mary Anning Rocks' campaign. She is interested in space. She knows she will have to work hard at her STEM subjects and statisticaly girls do well in these subjects at school but when it comes to going on to university and careers in engineering, technology and computer sciences there is a huge decline: girls do not take up these careers. Which begs the question; what role models do they have?

Evie lives in Dorset and in the whole of the Southwest of England - Dorset, Devon, and Cornwall - apart from the stunning new Messenger statue in Plymouth, there is only one example of a statue of a woman who has achieved: a bust to Agatha Christie in Torquay.

The Mary Anning site quotes Marion Wright Edelman, the American rights activist, who said " You cannot be what you cannot see" and it was Evie who asked her mum "Why is there no statue of Mary Anning?" If we do not provide children with images of the women who have been written out of history - as Mary Anning has been consistently written out over the years - then what futures can we expect them to be able to dream of?  So, what better way to inspire future generations in STEM subjects than to celebrate the remarkable achievements of this pioneering paleontologist, from a poor working class background who made stunning discoveries that helped change the way we think about the evolution of life on this planet.


Monumental Women in the USA

Oct. 23, 2019

spotted in the i by Roving Reporter Anne French

This is, of course, a most welcomed statue, being the first of real women in New York's City Park, where until now there has only been the usual patriarchal offering of various angels and nymphs and some fictitious women; Alice in Wonderland, Mother Goose and  Juliet ( with Romeo), alongside 23 historical men. In the whole of New York city there are only five public statues of real women while there are 145 sculptures of men - the usual insulting gender imbalance.

photo.Central Park.NYC Design Commision

This statue has aroused controversy because it puts these 3 very different women together. Black Activist Sojourner Truth here sits with white Suffragettes Stanton and Anthony who are said to have belittled African Americans and made them stand in the back at rallies. But Stanton’s great, great-granddaughter Coline Jenkins said  “ What’s really interesting is as we advance the idea of E Pluribus Unum, out of many we are one, and that’s the beauty that there are many ideas, many methods, many backgrounds that have created a concept of a nation and what we are as people” .

photo Michael Bergmann

It might be said that this unlikely grouping could have been avoided if the Park Commission had had the vision to go for more than a single representation of accomplished women. The statue, by Meredith Bergmann, will be unvieled in August 2020 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

Elizabeth - Indomitable Woman.

Oct. 9, 2019

Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy worked tirelessly for girls’ education, for women’s right to own property and for their right to vote. She believed in lobbying, took part in marches, gave speeches, and created over 1600 petitions nad wrote 7000 letters. This indomitable woman lived in Congleton in Cheshire and was dubbed, by no less than Emmeline Pankhurst, as ‘the brains of the suffragist movement’. Elizabeth is one of the key activists listed on the Millicent Fawcett statue in Parliament Square in London.

Elizabeth's Group is raising awareness of Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy, fundraising for a statue of her in Congleton, where she lived fo over 54 years. Without the efforts of groups like this how will we and coming generations have any idea about the sheer resourcefulness, intelligence and persistence that women have deployed over the generations? Without fitting tributes to these pioneers we are diminished by thier absence from our common historic record. They may be present in ( some ) history books - but these are open only to those who can pursue the accademic life - whereas a tribute on our streets gives everyone access to their image and their importance to us as role models. Comemorating women of the past serves to inspire women of the future.

Both Sides of the Story.

Oct. 9, 2019

When we still have statues honouring the slave traders - such as that of Edward Colston in Bristol and Christopher Codrington, the 19th century slave owner, at All Souls, Oxford - it is only right that we acknowledge the value of the labour, the depth of the indignity and the incredible injustice and cruelty suffered by the enslaved women and men.

There is an urgent petition on because there is no major memorial in England to commemorate the victims of the Transatlantic Slave trade. These are millions of people who were brought over from Africa in ships and kept as slaves. Many of them built Britain, but were subjected to cruelty and forced into inhumane conditions as well as bing torn away from thier homelands.

 Memorial 2007, is a charity that is campaigning for an Enslaved Africans Memorial in London’s Hyde Park. The charity has secured planning permission for a space in the Rose Gardens and commissioned statue designs.They need the Government to fund this. Time is running out as planning permission will expire on the 7th November. They are calling on the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to fund the first dedicated major memorial to Enslaved Africans before the deadline.


Women Standing Up in Iran.

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. from Yasmine Mohammed ياسمين محمد 🦋’s Tweet



Only 3 Other Sporting Women Honoured?

July 21, 2019

Apart from the statue of footballer Lily Parr it seems that there are only 3 other sporting women with statues. 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 statueThe 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. The other sporting champion honoured by a statue is Dame Kelly Holmes but the likeness was so poor that it aroused controversy and is not set in her home town in Kent, but in Portman Square in London. 

In Pembury, Kent, they have instead a figure described as an answer to the Angel of the North.

A First for Female Footballers

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.”


Annie Kenney in Oldham.

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.

Innovation in Leeds

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.

This exhibition gives visitors the opportunity to see the proposed designs created by the four shortlisted artists, Briony MarshallPippa HaleWendy Briggs, and Zsófia Jakab.

The Iron Lady in Bronze

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.