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Millicent Fawcett: The First Female Statue in Parliament Square

Suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett is making history again, 100 years after she played an integral part in one of the feminist movement’s greatest achievements. Fawcett has become the first female statue to stand in Parliament Square, London.

Speaking about her prominent position in one of London’s landmarks Mayor Sadiq Khan says,”she’s next to Mandela and Gandhi, you know, these are great, great people. These are pioneers who changed the course of history and, like Mandela and Gandhi, she did it through non-violent means.”

The statue stands at an impressive 8 feet 4 inches and depicts Fawcett at age 50, a time in her life when she became president of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies. She stands holding a sign saying ‘Courage calls to courage everywhere.’ The statue was designed by Turner-Prize winning artist Gillian Wearing and the team behind it has been mainly female led, including Caroline Criado who initiated a campaign to have a female statue built in Parliament Square.

Mayor Khan, late last year launched his campaign Behind Every Great City, marking 100 years since women were given the vote in Britain and so his support for a female monument was great.”It was almost like we’d planned it,” he said, “I’d made a big virtue of campaigning to be a proud feminist in city hall, and low and behold… I’d heard about Caroline, and it was a no brainer.

 

As choosing which historical female figure to depict was understandably a hard decision and so the monument also celebrates 59 other influential. Their images are etched around the statue as a dedication to their achievements in the pursuit of suffrage. The unveiling of the statue marks a significant day for London.