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.
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.
March 4, 2018
Here are some of the team from Mercat Tours who are campaigning for a statue to Elsie Inglis, a renowned suffragette and Founder of the Scottish Women's Hospitals. Go to http://ow.ly/NufH30iviyK and follow the links to see a short video describing her impressive achievements, made despite the patronising patriarchal attitiude that told her " My good lady, go home and sit down" when she offered her services as a qualified doctor to the forces in Edinburgh. Needless to say, this did not stop her.
March 2, 2018
image BBC website
Kaethe Kollwitz's most famous sculpture, Mother and Her Dead Son, sits in the middle of the Neue Wache (The New Guardhouse) on the Unter Den Linden in Berlin. Statues that glorify brave young warriors abound, but there are few such truthful and painful memorials to the real human cost of war.
Kollowitz's work was suppressed by the Nazis and this prominent statue represents Germany's new position after the war. It is visited each year by thousands of people. In the radio 4 programme "The World in 3D' ( link below until Thurs 29th March ) Lucy Lunt interviewed some of the visitors and what they said revealed the power of the sculpted image.
They talked to her about the emotions it evoked, the nature of motherhood, the tragedy of war and the desire to do better for future generations. For one young man, it inspired him to call his mother, over six hundred miles away, to say ' thank you' and ' I'm sorry'.
image BBC website
"It makes people respectful...'' and "breeds concern for their fellow man..." and "copies should be made... to be distributed around the world.."
Feb. 21, 2018
Feb. 21, 2018
On the anniversary of the first great victory for women in the sugffrage movement it's interesting to see where the struggle for equlaity lies today. The zeitgeist is with us as women, gradually shining a real light on the hidden depravities that have been excused and covered up for decades. Finally we are together calling the perpetrators out.
We still live in a male dominated society but now we are changing the rules by which we all play. It is important to leave a lasting testament to the better values that we choose to replace the nasty, underhand, dangerous and damaging behaviour of men, sanctioned by the patriarchy.
Civic statues have long been the quiet, persitent and influential image of male power, surrounding us in our cities, squares and town centres, silently reminding us just who it is that we should be "looking up" to. It's time for images of the other 50% of the population, representing positive values, to join this old guard, to echo the cry of our suffragettes sisters, it's time for more PLINTHS FOR WOMEN!
Feb. 21, 2018
Feb. 21, 2018
Feb. 5, 2018
Success after a long campaign. Alice Hawkins, a shoe factory machinist and leader of the suffrage movement in her city was honoured for having stood up for what she believed in.
from the i newspaper. Spotted by Roving Reporter Anne French
Feb. 2, 2018
How fitting that the statue of Alice Hawkins is to be erected in this centenary year of women's suffrage. The plinth for the statue is already in place in Leicester's new market square, behind the Corn Exchange and this Sunday - 4th February - the unveliing will take place at an event starting at 2pm.
Alice was an ardent suffragist and was sent to Holloway prison with 28 other women – including the sisters, Sylvia and Christabel Pankhurst.“It seems that Alice’s resolve hardened during her imprisonment because two months after leaving prison, she set up the first meeting of the Leicester branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union." says Dan Martin in the Leicester Mercury.
It's easy to foget the risks taken and the courage of the suffragists. They were as brave then as today's Iranian women ( see last post http://www.invisiblewomen.org.uk/gettingattention/post/59 ) who stand up in the streets and take off their headscarves as a protest.They too risk not only social disaprobation but time in prison, just like their suffragette sisters.
Details of all the events taking place across the UK to mark the centenary of women’s suffrage will be available at www.parliament.uk/vote100
Jan. 30, 2018
A woman to look up to.
In Iran wearing the veil is still the only way to be a safe and respectable woman. In fact, women can be arrested for publicly flouting the Islamic requirement that they cover their hair. This woman has in effect, created her own "plinth", to gain respect for her right to dress as she pleases.
According to an article in the New York Times yesterday by THOMAS ERDBRINK this brave young woman was the first of several such demonstrations of dissatisfaction at being forced to wear clothing dictated by the state religion.
' The first protest in December took place on a Wednesday and seemed connected to the White Wednesday campaign, an initiative by Masih Alinejad, an exiled Iranian journalist and activist living in the United States. Ms. Alinejad has reached out to Iranian women on Persian-language satellite television and through social media, and via a website she runs called My Stealthy Freedom. On the website, women post images of themselves without head scarves, demanding an end to the compulsory head scarf law.'
Jan. 19, 2018
Odd isn't it? Now that it comes to a second woman being proposed for a statue in Parliament Square the notion of "statue saturation" arises. Surley no one is so very antiquated as to think that because we will have one woman; the safely historical suffragist, Millicent Fawcett, that the balance is achieved?
article from the i spotted by inVISIBLEwomen's 'Roving Reporter' Anne French
Love her or loathe her, Maggie Thatcher was a true political force, as deserving of commemoration as the male inhabitants of the decades old 'Gentlemen's Club' in Parliament Square.
image from the i
We will no longer be fobbed off with the 'token woman'.
Jan. 14, 2018
Edinburgh has an impressive and positive initiative for its tourists, run by Social Enterprise, Invisible Cities (www.invisible-cities.org) which trains people who have experienced homelessness to become city tour guides.
Here is one of the guides, Biffy, speaking by the statue of the famous dog "Greyfriars Bobby".
Her tour is entitled "The Paths of Inspirational Women" so perhaps she is amusing the group by telling them that Edinburgh has more statues honouring animals than to commemorate the achievements of women? Hard to believe? Astonishing but true!
To book a tour visit www.invisible-cities.org
Nov. 23, 2017
An Artist's Installation on Blacklion-Belcoo Bridge by Rita Duffy
10 – 13 August 2017
Not actually civic staues but an uplifting intervention in this time of hardening of attitudes to borders and to those excluded by borders, whether physical or mental.
Inspired by holy well amulets nearby in Belcoo, women made a huge collection of dolls - border dwellers, travelling folk, refugees perhaps?
Women across Ulster produced a range of soft ‘furnishings’ out of recycled clothing. Old jumpers have been reinvented as huge soft orbs of colour to dress the bridge between Blacklion and Belcoo, literally ‘knitting’ the Border together.
Soften the Border was a temporary artwork installation across the North-South Border of Ireland; a response both to contemproary issues and to a history of conflict and separation. Women came together to sew and chat, sharing threads and buttons. Using up scraps from other knitting and crochet creations, voicing fears and listening to opinions drinking tea and helping each other as women do. Collectively they made this little patch of border soft, colourful, curious and comfortable for a few days.
So, not civic statues, but this work with bodies expresses the spirit of investigation of attitudes that can help to change a patriarchal mindset.