The US has fewer than 400 statues of women—but that’s changing
Women are not only smashing the glass ceiling in the corporate world but also apparently in the world of statues. Women have always been given a raw deal in a male dominated society and capturing the important role they have played in the past through the means of statues also shows our society’s apathy towards women.
“Across the US, there are fewer than 400 public statues of women. San Francisco has three statues of historical women and 85 of men. In Washington, D.C. some of the statues depicting women represent the metaphorical ideals of our democracy. In New York City, only five of 150 statues are real women. The problem extends to other countries, too. In the UK, out of 828 recorded statues, 94 are nameless representations of females and 80 are named women, according to the BBC. But approximately 15 of those named women aren’t real women, and a whole 38 of them are royal figures—mainly various versions of Queen Victoria I. In Australia there are more statues of animals than of women; just under 4% of all of the country’s statues represent historical female figures, according to columnist Tracey Spicer.” This lack of representation has real effects. Because women—actual, real women—couldn’t be venerated in the form of sculpture, people subconsciously understood that women weren’t worthy of being emulated and idolized.
However, things are changing as many organizations and NGO’s have started campaigning for placing real women statues in public places.
“In 2018, Salt Lake City-based statue manufacturer Statues.com started a campaign called “Where Are The Women?” in an effort to produce 20 seven-inch busts of heroic American women to launch in 2020. The daughter of Illinois poet laureate Gwendolyn Brooks and the great-granddaughter of investigative journalist Ida B. Wells have separately pushed to get statues of their inspirational family members in public sites in Chicago. Brooks’ statue was unveiled last year in Brooks Park, while Wells’ statue will likely be installed by the end of 2019.”
“All these initiatives come with educational programs intended to teach the public about monumental women in history. “The monuments are important, I’m a believer in the monuments,” says Gale Brewer, Manhattan’s Borough President. “[But] I’m more of a believer in the history and the ongoing discussion in our community. If we do these monuments they have to be accompanied with extremely intensive information, on apps, online, in the schools. And I know they will.”