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.
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.
Oct. 13, 2017
" History's great women should be visible in our squares and streets"
In a letter to The Times this year more than 80 female politicians, accademics and public figures called for a statue to honour Mary Wolstonecraft, who wrote 'A Vindication of the Rights of Woman' and is widely regarded as the mother of feminism. This would be a long overdue celebration of a woman who "represents social mobility and the transformative power of education". The signatories argue that it would help to break the bronze ceiling that keeps women so woefully under-represented in civic statues.
and if you haven't seen the Mary on the Green video do have a look via the link below. It's great.
follow this link: Click Here
Oct. 11, 2017
TERRACOTTA DAUGHTERS by Prune Nourry
'Terracotta Daughters' examins the consequences of gender selection favouring boys, exemplified in China, brought about by the One Chid policy. Taking her inspiration from the famous Terracotta Army of Xi'an, Prune Nourry made 8 hybrid sculptures, combining the style of the Terracotta Soldiers and the portraits of 8 young Chinese girls. With the help of artisan-copyists from Xi'an, she then created an army of 108 unique combinations from the eight original molds.
Following a World Tour (Shanghai, Paris, Zurich, New York and Mexico City), the Army was buried in a secret location in China, in a performance entitled "Earth Ceremony" held in October 2015.
Musée Diego de Rivera Anahuacalli - Mexico. image ©Marisa Veléz.
In Objekt International Hans Fonk says her work is about "highlighting the crucial problems of our society, as exemplified by the implications of science in child gender selection and the consequences of the techniques of procreation which lead to an artificial evolution of the population".
The challenge this work addresses is that without daughters there will be no women, without women there will be no human race. So what mad system will ultimately value boys above girls? The excavation of the Terracotta Daughters will take place in 2030, when, according to Chinese demographers, the male/female imbalance will have reached its peak.
In the shorter term, sales of the original scuptures fund the education of the orphan girls who were the models for the Terracotta daughters.
Oct. 10, 2017
"If you shape the past, you own the present"
Image: Monumental cartoon from The Baltimore Sun by Kal
After the furore over colonial statue-toppling in the US the Guardian asked readers to nominate deserving figures yet to be carved in stone. In the article that accompanies the results Zoe Williams suggests that the whole argument over statues is a symptom of a deeper unease.
"Iconoclasm is, above anything, an attempt to bring to a head a debate that is operating at a subcultural level. Colonialism, good or bad? Slavery, good or bad? These questions are boiling under, like suppurating sores, poisoning issues from Brexit in the UK to police racism in the US. Coming out trenchantly against a long-dead enemy is one way of forcing the confrontation to the surface. Statue-crushing is not something that happens in an era of consensus".
It's another testament to the power of a civic statue. The article reveals the that "These Confederate statues aren’t carved marble; they are cheap bronze casts, and they went up not straight after the civil war, but in two waves, one at the turn of the 20th century, one in the 1960s, coinciding both times with a growing civil rights movement. Their sponsors – the Daughters of the Confederacy, standing $200 statues for towns with the will to memorialise the glorious old days, but not the means – are not a historical record of Robert E Lee standing among his peers. They are a propaganda history-grab many years after, undertaken on the principle that if you shape the past, you own the present".
These insights into the power and uses of the civic statue makes it even more important that new statues are erected of women whose roles have meaning and value for our society. We have enough naked, unnamed nymphs. See the article for the suggestions for new statues which include Mary Wolstonecraft, Ada Lovelace, Victoria Wood, Gina Miller, Zaha Hadid, Doreen Lawrence, J K Rowling and Jo Cox.
Zoe Williams in the Guardian Tuesday 12 September 2017 www.theguardian.com
Oct. 5, 2017
100 Great Black Britons campaign attests to the power of the civic statue.
100 Great Black Britons was launched in 2003 to wide acclaim to emphasise the importance of role models for young black Britons. Jamaican nurse and entrepreneur Mary Seacole was voted number one and her statue now stands outside St Thomas Hospital in London, just over the river from the Houses of Parliament.
The original Black Britons project was in response to the BBC’s 100 Britons campaign in 2002, which saw the public voting for Winston Churchill as the greatest Brit of all time. Not one person of African heritage was included; in fact, Freddie Mercury was the only person of colour.
Patrick Vernon, founder of 100 Great Black Britons says "I hope that through raising awareness we can change the conversation about the contributions of black people to British society and history, and protect their legacy. When in 2013 Michael Gove attempted to exclude Mary Seacole from the history curriculum we were able to galvanise a campaign of resistance because we had raised her profile as an important figure."
"As Black History Month celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, it’s the ideal time to undertake the enjoyable task of amassing a new list. Against the backdrop of Brexit, the rise of rise-wing politics, and the continuing inequality faced by black communities in the UK, I hope the campaign will inspire, and be a further marker that we belong here and our historical and current contributions are making a difference, despite not always been valued and respected."
Nominations start 1st of October 2017. Closing date for nominations 31st of March 2018. Voting begins 22 June on Windrush Day, with results announced 1st of October 2018.
Oct. 3, 2017
Breaking the mould of the "hushed genre of the honorific statue"
The statue of Millicent Fawcett by Gillian Wearing has a clever twist on the traditional civic commemoration. When you look at it you see a woman who could almost have been with us on the Women's March this year... now she is going to be the first woman on a plinth alongside the 11 men in Parliament Square, that ancient male preserve of totems of patriarchal power, who will finally be joined by a woman - a protestor and activist immortalised.
Gillian Darley writes in Apollo Arts Magazine that sculptor Gillian Wearing's statue of Fawcett, shows, " faithfully enough, a woman in an ankle-length dress (ornamented by a brooch cast from one she owned, a small note of added authenticity) and plainly dressed hair, cast in bronze.There is nothing, in that, to scare those easily made nervous by the conceptual.Yet she has succeeded in gently, and subtly, subverting the hushed genre of the honorific statue.
Fawcett is holding a large placard (as do many of Wearing’s subjects, more usually in photographs). The words on it are those with which Fawcett marked Emily Davison’s tragic death at the Epsom Derby in 1913, her life lost for their common cause, votes for women; ‘Courage calls to Courage Everywhere.’ The scale and form of the message and the surface on which the words are freely lettered, translates the statue straight into our moment."
Aug. 25, 2017
The Guardian want to know who should get a statue.
image The Guardian.
The question is "who, living or dead, should get a statue?"
Given the state of affairs in terms of the terrible gender imblalance, the easy thing to decide is that it should be a woman, but who?
Send in your thoughts via the link below.
Aug. 20, 2017
As if we needed any more evidence of the power of the civic statue, Charlottesville provides us with the sad proof.
The heritage of the confederacy's war on the human rights of a race of people they enslaved for their own enrichment is shameful. This is the patriarchy's most base and vile manifestation and has proved a rallying point for modern day racists, bigots and self-defined "nationalists".
.Image: Monumental cartoon from The Baltimore Sun by Kal
The difficult question that it leaves us with is how to stop honouring evil aspects of a nation's history without erasing it from the record? We know that if we do not understand our history we are condemned to repeat it, mistakes and all. Taking down statues to evil-doers expresses the abhorence we feel for their acts but we also need to remember what they have done.
Auschwitz could have been razed to the ground but then would we truly see the utter horror of what went on under the nazi regime? Some commemeration seems to be required without any glorification and with a balancing memorial to, for example, campaigners for peace and equality and the brave people who ran the "Underground Railway" that brought countless numbers of runaway slaves to freedom.
Aug. 14, 2017
A flight of fantasy. Could she be a queer icon?
Statues of Queen Victoria are omnipresent and it is interesting to speculate why that is. Of course, she reigned for 60 years..but maybe because there were barely any statues of women the patriarchy encouraged lots of the Queen in order to make it appear that some kind of gender equity was being practiced? Seeing the statue erected to Queen Victoria by the women of Bath it also possible to imagine ( somewhat wildly? ) that their "love and loyaly"
might just conceivably not simply be the blind allegiance of well-to-do women to the monarchy but might have been the clandestine act of a group of lesbian women, out of gratitude for the Queen's alleged cunning protection of lesbians from the force of the law by leaving them out of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 that criminalised gay men's sexual relationships. More likely of course, that, as suggested in the article in The Scotsman, the male establishment avoided legislating on lesbianism, for fear of drawing women's attention to its existence.... not imagining, in that paternalistic, Victorian male way that women may just have got there without any prompting from men. The article also says that the myth of her taking lesbian acts out of the legislation started in Wellington, New Zealand, in 1977, because a demonstration for lesbian equality centred on a statue of Victoria.
Read more at: http://www.scotsman.com/news/background-myth-of-victoria-and-ban-on-homosexuality-1-1499082
July 13, 2017
Art UK have secured funding for a 3 year, nationwide survey of Britain's public sculpture heritage. This is a real testament to the deep and lasting significance of the civic statue. Katey Goodwin, Deputy Director of Art UK, believes that public art is a vital part of our environmant and its benefits go much deeper than than just something interesting or beautiful to look at. "The fact that public art can be rooted in local identity or history gives a sense of interest or ownership, increasing feelings of well being"
. image from Gatehead Council's website
She quotes a study by Durham University which looked at the Angel of the North and found that 72% of respondents said the sculpture made them feel good whenever they saw it and 64% said it made them feel proud of Gateshead. This same response is, of course, true for the sense of affirmation found in seeing people of one's own gender recognised for their achievements and the lack of women represented in public art is a real loss to us all.
Imagine how it would feel if the Angel of the North was a woman.
Art UK are looking for volunteer photographers. Details will be on their website artuk.org.
Source: Watrose Weekend newspaper
June 10, 2017
image; New York Times
If you have ever doubted the relevance or power of a civic statue, you have only to look at the strong responses to Fearless Girl in New York. The statue was created to "stand as a reminder that having more women in leadership positions positively contributes to overall performance and strengthens our economy,”
Calls for “Fearless Girl” to become a permanent part of the financial district began almost immediately after it appeared, including an online petition that had garnered more than 28,000 signatures in a matter of days. Those calls continued after the decision to extend the statue’s stay for one year became known, including from the New York City public advocate, Letitia James.
“Fearless Girl is a powerful symbol to women young and old,” Ms. James wrote on Twitter. “Empowering women shouldn’t be temporary — she must be a permanent piece of NYC.”
Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, stood beside the statue ( originally only designed as a temporary installation ) to announce the decision to extend its stay until the next International Women’s Day, on March 8, 2018. He called the statue a symbol of “standing up to fear, standing up to power, being able to find in yourself the strength to do what’s right.”
Mr. de Blasio said the presidency of Donald J. Trump and the nationwide women’s rights marches the day after his inauguration had given the statue a special power. “Right after that, this miraculous girl appears and creates such a powerful sensation because she spoke to the moment,” the mayor said. “That sense that women were not going to live in fear, that women were going to teach their daughters and all the women in their lives to believe in themselves.”
image; New York Times
“Sometimes, a symbol helps us become whole, and I think the ‘Fearless Girl’ is having that same effect,” he added. “She is inspiring everyone at a moment when we need inspiration.”
May 7, 2017
Change is afoot in Leeds.
No longer satisfied with a Prince on a charger,
flanked by four worthy gentlemen,
surrounded by 8 naked, nameless nymphs
MP Rachel Reeves and council leader Judith Blake are calling for a civic statue to honour a real women and her achievments. Their call has been spurred on by the plans for statues of Emmeline Pankhurst in Manchester, Ellen Wilkinson in Middlesbrough and Millicent Fawcett in London's Parliament Square. The Yorkshire Evening Post wants to hear from readers about who they admire and draw their inspiration from.
Contact them at the address below.
Read more at: http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/statue-plis interested in what people havce to sat about this.an-for-leeds-women-gathering-pace-1-8487685
May 1, 2017
Recent comment in the i newspaper.
Image: the i newspaper
May 1, 2017
What Would Sappho Say?
This is the recently luanched competition for a short essay, a poem or a piece of art. It is inspired by the statue of Sappho in Letchworth. The initiative is focused on women, particularly younger women, living in the area, and what Sappho would say about the progress being made for her gender and LGBT people in recent years.
For more information see -
May 1, 2017
The i newspaper reports ( 14.4.17 ) that the good people of Edinburgh are, it seems, tiring of the idea that they have more statues of animals than of women and moves are afoot to erect a statue of a woman. There is a campaign launched by the Edinburgh Evening News and supported by Nicola Sturgeon and other political leaders. They have plenty of brilliant female daughters of the city to choose from; Marie Stopes, Muriel Spark and JK Rowling..... to name but a few. Any one of which surely has more claim to recognition than a faithful terrier or a beer drinking bear from the zoo?
One wonders if this campaign would have existed without the clever, creative input of the WIFIES last year during Edinburgh's famous, feisty Audacious Women Festival?
If you have a view on the matter or suggestions to make, please contact Fiona Pringle
May 1, 2017
These moving words, written by Emma Lazarus and long associated with the Statue of Liberty in the USA, have been called severely into question by the current administation's attempts to place a ban on refugees, defined by their religion, and a wall to keep out Mexicans. Liberty is one of the most powerful statues of a woman, albeit a symbolic rather than an actual woman. It represents the welcome historically extended by that country to the dispossesed, a position now so sadly altered by the mood of the country that brought about Trump's presidency.
Photo: International Business Times
This protest outside the American Embassy in the UK organised by Amnesty, illustrates, once again the power of the civic statue. It was one of those that took place internationally to stand up against the destruction of the ethos of welcoming refugees and not discriminating or excluding on grounds of religion.
photo:International Business Times
International Business Times UK4 days ago
April 30, 2017
In Govan attention is being called to the lack of a memorial to lady Dinah Pearce. Amonst her many philanthropic achievements she set up the Peace Institute as a gift to the people of Govan, was a pioneer of "Fresh Air Fortnight" which sent hundreds of sick children to convalesce at the coast or countryside, fought to improve living conditions of the poor and to alleviate hardship. She paid for this statue of her husband to be erected but there is no menmorial to her.
This protest is staged by Sexcentenary, a collective of women who identify as older, committed to the collaborative performance of gender, feminism and ageing.
April 30, 2017
In Denbigh artist Wanda Zyborska has developed an annual ritual re-veiling of the controversial civic statue of H.M. Stanley as part of a public protest about a man who supported slavery and was guilty of crimes against humanity.
HM Stanley was a famous name in the late 19th century, mainly as a result of his search for Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone who he found in East Africa in 1871, after eight months of searching, coining the well known phrase; " Dr Livingstone, I presume?"
The many protestors say that Stanley was part of a brutal and exploitive regime that resulted in millions of Congolese being killed. They cover the statue in a rubber "condom" to symbolically stop the spread of the "seed" of corruption and exploitative power. A wreath is laid to commemorate those murdered in the Congo.
Protestor Wanda Zyborska, who is the artist that made the rubber covering, said: “Rubber is a particularly appropriate medium for the Stanley re-veiling sculpture, as there was so much abuse related to the collection of rubber by the people of Congo, who suffered punishments such as cutting off a hand and flogging for failing to deliver.
Wanda is a member of Sexcentanary, a collective of women who identify as older, committed to the collaborative performance of gender, feminism and ageing.
April 20, 2017
In the short video ( link below ) artist Hester Reeve, reveals interesting aspects of Sylvia Pankhurst's life. Did you know she gave up her studies as an artist for the suffrage movement? Hester speaks in the film about Sylvia’s life as an artist and the way she used her skills in the campaign for suffrage and women’s rights
April 20, 2017
"Where are the Women?" is the campiagn for a statue of the first real women in New York's Central Park.
The park is, of course, liberally supplied with icons of male power and status, but not a single real woman. Alice in Wonderland is the closest they have managed. Two prominent suffragettes have been suggested and "The Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund" is working for the placement of a statue of the two women's rights pioneers in Central Park. This is one aspect of the wider push for recognition of women's achievments in the states, represented by EVE - Equal Visibility Everywhere - organisation which works for all kinds of public memorials, statues, stamps, street names etc.
Metrofocus Thirteen. WLIW@! NJTVInterviewer: Jenna Flanagan, April 6, 2017
April 06, 2017 at 6.27 pm Sexism in Central Park?
April 18, 2017
It has just been announced that Hazel Reeves proposal "Rise Up, Women" for the first statue of a woman in Manchester in 100 years - other than the ubiquitous Queen Victoria - has been selected as the winner. How appropriate that a woman sculptor should give us this memorial. The work is due to be erected in 2019.
Hazel has also been selected for a statue commission celebrating women biscuit factory workers – the ‘Cracker Packers’ – at the McVities factory (formerly Carr’s) in Carlisle. The bronzes of the two Cracker Packers, one from past times and one from today, will be unveiled next International Women’s Day, 2018. It seems there really is a growing awareness of the power of this kind of recognition of the true worth of 'everyday' women as well as the exceptional individual. For the full details see the press release. Photo by Stuart Walker.
April 4, 2017
Civic Statues as an apology for war crimes?
In October, 2016 two statues of a Korean and Chinese girl were unveiled in China, the first monument in China to honor the victims of Japan's wartime sexual slavery. The statues were erected inside Shanghai Normal University in the Chinese city with the help of donations from citizens of Hwaseong, south of Seoul. It is the fifth monument to be built outside of South Korea in honor of the hundreds of thousands of women who were forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops during World War II. Most of the women were from Korea as the country was under Japanese colonial rule from 1910-45, but some of them were also brought from China, Taiwan & other nations. While the governments hailed it as a landmark agreement, many of the victims and their supporters accused Seoul of "diplomatic collusion" and demanded their grievances be properly addressed through an acknowledgment of legal responsibility and other means.
The other statues have been erected in the United States, Canada and Australia.
Source - SHANGHAI/HWASEONG, South Korea, Oct. 22 2016
April 2, 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May said:
"The example Millicent Fawcett set during the struggle for equality continues to inspire the battle against the burning injustices of today."
The new statue will be funded using the £5m fund announced in this year's spring Budget to celebrate next year's centenary of the first British women to get the vote. There are so many other women whose contributions to our society have gone unsung that might benefit from this fund.http://Budget 2017: Women's suffrage centenary gets £5m See the Waiting List page for some excellent suggestions as to who they are, and add any that are not yet there.
Image: Dame Millicent Fawcett addressing a meeting in Hyde Park - circa 1913 - as president of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies.
Congratulations to the excellent energetic campaign on change.org
"Put a statue of a suffragette in Parliament Square to mark 100 years of female suffrage"
March 29, 2017
This March in Bulgaria's capital Sofia, an artist called Erka, working with the arts organisation Fine Acts http://fineacts.co/about has made a dynamic protest about the complete lack of any civic monuments to women. There are none at all. She has placed "everywoman" busts on plinths around the city to help wake up the consciousness of the public. http://This artist is filling Bulgaria's capital with statues of ... metro.co.uk › Arts › Art.
There has been an interesting reaction to this bold initiative from Jonathan Jones' blog in the Guardian http://Feminism doesn't need more female statues – it needs political action Jonathan Jones where he tells us that there's no point in putting up statues of women, what's needed is political action - as if the two were mutually exclusive - and ignoring the fact that this initiative is a political action.
Jonathan says "Campaigners who think Britain, too, needs more statues of women may be surprised by my insistence that there are plenty." 'Plenty' is an interesting way to describe a paltry 15%. Maybe that's an easy opinion to hold when you are part of the gender represented by 85% of the UK's civic statues instead of the 15% that have to get by with endless images of Queen Victoria and nameless, naked frolicking nyphs to look up to as 'role models' sanctioned by the society that you are part of.
Photos : Mihail Novakov
March 27, 2017
Edinburgh Napier University will be holding their degree shows in May, including one by Rebecca Morrice who is currently conducting research into the relationship between heritage and women in Edinburgh.The aim of Rebecca's research is to develop a variety of platforms that reveal the city's historic places, events and historical female characters through participatory and interpretation design, highlighting the areas of significant inequality for women's heritage.The project seeks to represent what is evidently an underdeveloped area of the city's community heritage; that is to say, there are currently more statues of animals than of women in the city! And there is no shortage of suitable candidates, proven by the dynamic interventions by the WIFIES ( Women in Focus in Edinburgh ) http://www.wifie.org.uk with their pop-up, cut out statues of Muriel Spark, Mary Somerville and others, strategically placed around the city for Women's Day, in March 2016. For more information about the value placed, or rather, not placed, on women's contributions to society see Scotland's feminist organisation, Engender. http://www.engender.org.uk
Rebecca's degree show will be viewed by Historic Environment Scotland, www.historicenvironment.scot who want to see the outcome and public reaction - and if it proves significant they may then be open to working on some changes to their policies on heritage.The exhibition is due to open on 18th May, www.napier.ac.uk so do go and visit, leave your comments and influence the future representation of women.
March 22, 2017
Another big organization is putting its weight behind the movement for gender equality in civic statues.
This Women’s History Month, Historic England is talking about the representation and commemoration of women throughout history
They estimate that a mere 2.7% of statues in the UK are of historical, non-royal women – and note that there are now a number of campaigns are looking to change that.
They are inviting your suggestions (as is inVISIBLEwomen on our “Waiting List“ page) for women who should be honoured.
Visit Heritage Calling: 8 Statues of Courageous Women in History to read more and add your suggestions.
March 15, 2017
This is the latest campaign from America - there is movement everywhere.
BBDO, a large American advertising company, launched a new public awareness campaign to encourage cities and corporations to put women on the map by naming streets, statues and buildings after influential female figures. Andrew Robertson, President and CEO of BBDO Worldwide, unveiled the "Put Her on the Map" campaign at the MAKERS Conference, one of the leading gatherings for trailblazing women of today and tomorrow. The announcement was made in tandem with Amy Elaine Wakeland, the First Lady of Los Angeles.
Women make up 50% of the population, but most streets, landmarks and monuments are named after men. "Put Her on the Map" challenges cities and corporations with influential ecosystems to disrupt this cycle.
"When successful women are not visible in our world, there is no precedent for female potential," said Mr. Robertson. "By changing the map, cities and companies can change the face of our communities and inspire future female leaders."
A short film features a series of vignettes in which young girls are asked to describe things named after women and what these girls want to be when they grow up.
Their answers reference superficial items such as the "Lazy Susan," a "Bloody Mary" and "Mary Jane" shoes. The film ends with a call to action: "Women make up 50% of the population, but most streets, monuments and landmarks are named after men. We should change that. Let's inspire girls by honoring great women."
The film can be viewed here:
This campaign was launched at
March 8, 2017
International Women’s Day 2017
InVISIBLEwomen has been running for one year and has witnessed a wonderful uprising of campaigns for civic statues to women all over the country. It has been inspiring to see the weight of public approval for these campaigns.
In celebration of this first year’s progress and to mark International Women’s Day the country’s MPs are now being given the opportunity to tell us what their views are on the concept of gender equality in civic statues in the UK and what is happening in their constituencies.
To see what the person who represents you has to say about this issue see
March 8, 2017
Leonardo said that an image is worth a thousand words. It’s something we all experience; an image will bypass the rational mind and reach deep into our imagination.
Therein lies the quiet, persistent power of the civic statue. We are, in effect, surrounded by the coded story of what power is about and who wields it; a constant reminder that women are barely in the running. With 85% of civic statues being of men and their achievements, we are witnessing the oldest nationwide campaign of subliminal marketing of men and masculine values.
By questioning the status quo we have the opportunity to re-define the story we tell ourselves and coming generations. We can rewrite the script for this old, outdated ad-campaign.
We can re-assess what it is that builds a good society. Does it consist mainly of men’s achievements – military, political, accademic - or do we in fact value, and need, equally to see the other, as yet largely unsung, contributions to society? We could see – we have the power to bring about - images of female achievements, of political peacemakers, of community building, of collaborative endeavour, as well as honouring all the female artists and cultural icons alongside their male counterparts. For a great analysis of attitudes to women and power listen to the radio 4 talk by Professor Mary Beard on Women in Power at bbc.co.uk. or at the London Review of Books site www.lrb.co.uk
March 6, 2017
These are the six finalists for the statue in Manchester to honour the emminent suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, who was born there. The winning entry will be erected in 2019. It will be the first statue of a women, amonst the 18 statues of men and one of Queen Victoria, in 100 years.
The images come from MP Andrew Gwynne's facebook post about this event. For more details see -
Feb. 13, 2017
Did you know that there is an International Association of Women’s Museums?
The IAWM exists to
Promote and strengthen the acceptance of Women’s and Gender Museums worldwide.
Exchange, network, global cooperation of the Women’s Museums, and mutual support.
Achieve international recognition in the world of museums.
The pooled Women’s and Gender museums advocate women’s rights and a Gender democratic society.
inVISIBLEwomen is now an Associate Member of IAWM.
Feb. 11, 2017
Photo: Eddie Middleton.
In February 2016 in Glasgow the name of the successful sculptor, Andrew Brown, chosen to create the statue of Mary Barbour, social reformer, was announced:
This sculptor’s intention was to present Mary Barbour, for now and for generations to come, in a way that captures the achievement for which she is best known. The day in November 1915, when she led a 20-thousand-strong protest through the streets of Glasgow to the Sheriff Court and won the victory.
Radical political activist Mary Barbour, born in Govan, successfully led the Rent Strikes in the city at the height of World War 1 forcing a change in the law with the introduction of the Rent Restrictions Act. Post-war, she maintained her vision and determination to deliver better policies for women and children across the city by blazing a trail to become the first Labour female councillor, Bailie and magistrate.
This acheivement is only part of the sought-after result with hundreds of statues of men and just 20 statues of women across Scotland's civic landscape. See comments from Adele Patrick, founder of Glasgow Women's Library ( Nov 2015 )
"I think it is unbelievably empowering for girls - and boys - to grow up with the knowledge that women can do great things and can change the world."
and Janice Forsyth's amusing take on the situation in the Sunday Herald ( May 2013 )
"Unavoidably, such activities will result in human beings of the female persuasion being acknowledged, even celebrated, for their achievements. In Scotland. In the 21st century. I dread to think what could follow. An all-woman judging panel deciding on the future of Glasgow’s George Square? Pass me the smelling salts. Imagine the fiasco that could result from that!"
Feb. 6, 2017
In the Guardian article ( 09.01.17 )" Britain to celebrate pioneering women with three new statues" the Labour MP Sarah Champion, who is shadow minister for women and equalities, said:
“The lack of women represented in public art can only be seen as a physical embodiment of how we fail to respect and recognise women’s achievements in our society.”
She said women’s taxes helped pay for the statues, yet our other contributions seemed unwanted because they were not publicly recognised.
“Public art sends a clear message on the qualities of leadership and achievement we value. By not recognising women leaders in this way, we are denying them a place in history. Worse, we are preventing them becoming visible role models for the next generation.”
Feb. 3, 2017
Maquette for Jane Austen statue by Adam Roud
To paraphrase Jane Austen's famous opening to Pride and Prejuduce; It is a truth universally acknowledged....that a civic statue in the UK is more likely to be of a man than a woman by a ratio approaching 10 to 1. Whether this huge discrepancy is a matter of pride or prejudice on the part of those empowered to erect public momuments remains a matter for discussion.
However, in Basingstoke there is now an active campaign to put up a statue to one of the nation's best loved authors, Jane Austen. 2017 will mark the 200th anniversary of her death. Strange that such a cultural icon should have had to wait so long for recognition in her own area.
*"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife".
Jane Austen English novelist (1775 - 1817)
Pride and Prejudice, first line
Jan. 10, 2017
In the Guardian this week Helen Pidd, the North of England editor, writes that Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, MP Ellen Wilkinson and comic Victoria Wood are to be clebratated with public monuments.
"It has long been a sad truth that for a woman to be immortalised as a civic statue in the UK, she must either be a monarch – preferably Queen Victoria – or a naked nymph frolicking in a fountain. The male domination of public monuments may slowly be eroding, however, with three pioneering women to be celebrated in statue form in the next few years".
It is so good to hear that women are finally being given the recognition thay have deserved, but been denied for decades. This very, very slow recognition of women who have smashed glass ceilings, escaped from the hobbling effects of patriarchal attitudes and acheived despite the odds being stacked so heavilty against them, seems so dog in the manger. One wonders what the obstacles reallly are? Anybody would think there is a fear of acknowledging what women actually contribute to society.
Nov. 14, 2016
At the end of August 2016, Maureen Lipman unveiled the statue of Amy Johnson commemorating 75 years since her death. The unveiling marks the end of the Amy Johnson Festival; a celebration of Amy’s life, helping to raise awareness of her achievements as an aviator, as an engineer and as a woman of her time, and to encourage young women to consider engineering and the sciences as career choices through the presentation of positive role models and creative projects which explore technical, digital or mechanical ideas and applications, as well as to place Hull in an international context and to help set the scene for Hull UK City of Culture 2017.
Nov. 14, 2016
Nov. 7, 2016
The two statues, one in Hull and one in Herne Bay, have different quotes set into their surfaces. The Herne Bay bronze quote on Amy's flying helmet is ‘believe nothing to be impossible” which was taken from a speech Amy gave in 1936. A second quote runs around the bottom of her jacket. This is what Amy said when Amelia Earhart disappeared in 1937 and it may have been Amy’s way of saying she knew she would go the same way and that was ok. It says “If I fail to find my mid-Pacific island let no one grieve for me or wish me any other fate. We all must finish our lives some time, and I infinitely prefer this end to the flu or senile decay. Rather grieve if I never have the chance to try.”
Oct. 19, 2016
Record breaking aviator Amy Johnson honoured by 2 statues
Image copyright Ian Sutton
In September 2016 a bronze statue to honour English aviator Amy Johnson was unveiled in Herne Bay, close to where she was last seen alive. In the same month another statue of her was unveiled by actress Maureen Lipman in Hull where Amy was born, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the pilot's death. Amy Johnson's body and her plane were never recovered but her truly remakable achievements have now been honoured.
1929 Amy Johnson was the first woman in the UK to become an Air Ministry qualified ground engineer.
1930 the first woman to fly solo to Australia.
1931 the first pilot to fly from London to Moscow in one day.
1932 she flew solo from London to Cape Town in South Africa, breaking her husband's previous record by 11 hours.
1936 she regained her London to Cape Town record. This was her last long-distance flight.
Image copyright Ian Sutton
The Herne Bay statue of Amy Johnson is close to where she ditched her plane in the sea
July 30, 2016
'Without their help the nation would probably have starved'
A life size statue to honour their vital work was unveleid at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire in October 2014.
LAND GIRLS: 'THE FORGOTTEN ARMY'
Land Girls worked on farms to feed the nation when men went to war. The official minimum age was 17, but some lied and became Land Girls at 16 or even younger. Many had been barmaids, waitresses, maids, hairdressers or mill workers, and some enrolled straight from school.
With their uniform of green ties and jumpers and brown felt slouch hats, they toiled from dawn to dusk each day. They planted and harvested crops, tended animals and poultry, and delivered milk - all for £1.40 a week, with 70p deducted for board and lodging.
Often referred to as the 'Forgotten Army ', 20,000 surviving Land Girls were finally honoured in 2007 when the Government announced their efforts would be recognised with a commemorative badge.
July 30, 2016
Celebrating Great Women on Britain's Streets Statues across the UK are predominantly of men, but campaigns to memorialise important women are increasingly meeting a receptive audience, writes Mark A Silberstein. In the past two years support has been growing for women statue campaigns across the UK including in places including Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Belfast and Sheffield..... campaigners are being listened to by high-profile figures ….Councils across the country have also become more involved……
See full article and pictures at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-36707152
July 22, 2016
On International Women's Day 2016 a campaign was launched in Middlesbrough to secure a female statue in the town.There are seven statues in Middlesbrough - all men - and the Middlesbrough Statue Campaign aims to address this lack of representation of women with an Eighth Plinth for one of the women who have made great contributions to the life of the town.
There is a list of six remarkable yet unsung women from all walks of life, including politics, suffrage, health and art, which will be put to a public vote to find who will be commemorated with a statue. This will be paid for by a fundraising campaign with no funding from the public purse.
Campaign co-ordinator Emma Chesworth said: "A statue is a very visible and powerful symbol ....There are many remarkable women who lived and do live in Middlesbrough ....All too often, women are erased from history and their achievements never known or given the recognition they deserve."
Source: Middlesborough Council site.
For more information - http://eighthplinth.com
June 23, 2016
It is interesting to see the controversy around the Mary Seacole statue in London, with some arguing that a statue is an outdated way of celebrating a life and achievements. Although, given the sound and fury generated by this one it seems that a statue can be a very potent force. Perhaps it is more to do with the fact that it is a woman’s achievements, and a black woman’s achievements, which are being honoured, that brings out attempts to belittle and dismiss it?
Above image of the proposed Mary Seacole statue: The Guardian
The matter is fully discussed in a number of papers, including the Daily Mail:
"Lessons in lies: How the BBC, school text books and even exam boards have twisted history to smear Florence Nightingale and make a saint of this woman..."
Above image of Florence Nightingale: the Daily Mail
and the Guardian
“Mary Seacole is an unsung heroine,” says Baroness Amos, director of the School of Oriental and African Studies…..“A Jamaican businesswoman, traveller and healer who wanted to go to Crimea to help treat the wounded and save lives, but was refused by the authorities. Rather than accept defeat, she went independently using her own money.”
and the Voice
…actress Suzanne Packer, who is an ambassador for the appeal said “The Mary Seacole Memorial Statue is so much more than a piece of art,” she said. “It represents a validation of her existence as a great human being and as we are all intrinsically linked through past, present and future it connects with my life and makes me proud, particularly as a black woman in this country, to have such a powerful and courageous role model.”
Above image of Seacole from the Daily Mail
June 23, 2016
Above photo from @ShefACSE on Twitter
Sheffield City Council found that the “Women of Steel” statue was such a popular idea they raised even more than they needed to erect the statue so were able to strike commemorative medals to be presented to the surviving steel factory workers.
“Now in their late 80s, 90s and even 100s, we want Sheffield’s Women of Steel to be remembered and recognised for their efforts for years to come... a poignant memorial in the heart of Sheffield city centre, celebrating the Women of Steel.”
See the statue on the results page.
May 29, 2016
'Listen again' to an interview with Terri Bell-Halliwell on AgeUK's The Wireless Radio: click here.
May 25, 2016
Above photograph: Roman Road Trust
Plans are in place to erect a statue in Bow of the radical feminist who founded the East London Federation of Suffragettes in 1913.
The Roman Road Trust, a community development organisation, wants the Pankhurst statue to be located on the junction of St Stephen’s Road and Roman Road.
It would form part of a wider public art trail focused on East End women such as Annie Besant, who played a prominent role in the Bow matchgirls strike of 1888.
“A lot of people don’t realise that Bow is the heartland of Sylvia Pankhurst,” said Tabitha Stapely, CEO of the Roman Road Trust.
“Due to the bombing in the war and various council initiatives to tidy up the area afterwards, there are no buildings or sites left of where Sylvia worked on Roman Road.”
“We want people to know the history, feel part of it and engage with it. So all these things have been leading up to the idea of celebrating her work with a statue.”
Read more on: East End Citizen
May 12, 2016
Above photographs show Sadiq Quan, Caroline-Criado Perez and Emma Watson.
Sadiq Khan has agreed to erect a statue of a suffragette in central London.
The news comes after a campaign by feminist activist Caroline-Criado Perez and Telegraph Women, which launched on Monday this week. More than 70,000 people signed a petition, asking for a statue of a suffragette to be placed in Parliament Square by 2018 – a century after women got the vote.
Currently, there are 11 statues outside Parliament Square, all of which are men.
Criado-Perez published an open letter in Telegraph Women this week, signed by a group of powerful women – including Emma Watson, Naomi Harris and Sandi Toksvig –as well as MPs, businesswoman and baronesses.
It called on Khan to honour his promise to be a “proud feminist” in City Hall, by placing a statue of a woman outside the Houses of Parliament. (Read the full letter on The Telegraph).
View and sign the petition at: change.org
Read more on: The Telegraph
May 10, 2016
As part of the Audacious Women Festival in Edinburgh, some new "statues" appeared around the city on International Women's Day 2016 of some of the Scots women who deserve celebrating.
Wifie, Women in Focus in Edinburgh, a women's photography collective, ran a photography workshop and produced life-size images to bring some of these historic and audacious women into the light, among them were Muriel Spark, renowned author and Mary Somerville, astronomer and mathematician; Scottish women with a great legacy.
Wifie ask the interesting question "Who has control over the imagery of women today and throughout history and how are women like ... Mary Somerville represented or remembered?
Edinburgh has more statues of animals than women - there are 2 statues of named women and one anonymous woman and child, compared with 5 dogs and one bear!
March 6, 2016
The suffragette’s socialist ideals caused a rift with her mother and sister.
Photograph: Heritage Images/Getty Images
In life, they became personally and politically estranged. And decades after their deaths, the three Pankhurst women who did so much to win universal suffrage continue to be divided.
While Emmeline Pankhurst, the founder of the suffragette movement, and her eldest daughter Christabel are commemorated by a statue and plaque at the entrance to Victoria Tower Gardens on the south-west corner of the houses of parliament, no such honour has been bestowed on Sylvia, who broke with her family over her opposition to the first world war and pursuit of socialist ideals.
The House of Lords – an institution Pankhurst vowed to tear down in a coming revolution – has over the years repeatedly blocked proposals for a memorial near parliament, despite strong support from figures including the former Commons speaker Betty Boothroyd, and the granting of planning permission by Westminster council.
But while there seems little hope of a statue of the radical pioneer joining her mother and sister in Westminster, an unlikely partnership is seeking to honour her on a plot a few miles east.
A bronze model of the statue has already been made by the late sculptor Ian Walters, who was also responsible for the statue of Nelson Mandela in Parliament Square.
(See the maquette on the results page.)
Clerkenwell has been chosen as an alternative to Westminster as it was in the east of London that Sylvia sought to unite the women’s movement with that of the working class, after being expelled from her mother’s Women’s Social and Political Union and forming the East London Federation of Suffragettes.
Read more on The Guardian
March 1, 2016
Brilliant campaigning by the womanchesterstatue.orgfor a statue to honour Mrs Pankhurst has been ongoing for years and in 2016 finally reached its goal and her statue is due to be up by 2019.
Photo by Edward Gooch/Getty Images
She will be the first woman to be honoured in a statue in Manchester for 100 years. The last woman being, unsurprisingy, the ubiquitous Queen Victoria.
Today’s campaigners in Manchester have been resourceful and determined. Thankfully they have not been driven to the lengths required by Pankhurst and the women of the suffrage movement to make their voices heard.
Feb. 25, 2016
By 2015 the campaign to honour Mary Wollstonecraft, one of the country's foremost feminist thinkers, had been attracting media coverage for some time from the Guardian to the Telegraph and on the BBC. See maryonthegreen.org for all this coverage and their great video with Melvyn Bragg, Kirsty Wark and Shami Chakrabarti.
Photo by Neil Wissink
On a broader note, the site estimates that the ratio of men to women in London's public statues is ten to one... Not what you would call a fair representation of women, given that women are 50% of the population.