What are we talking about? Statues. They are everywhere. In public parks. On the street. On waterfronts. Some are of famous people like Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela. Some are larger than life like the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro or the Statue of Liberty in New York. Others have a special connection with a place like the Mermaid in Copenhagen, the birthplace of Little Mermaid author Hans Christian Anderson. And some are just for fun!
But why do so many cities have statues? Mostly, they are to remember great leaders, to inspire citizens, or to just be expressions of art. Two people who know their statues well are Gillie and Marc Schattner, an Australian couple who are famous for creating thousands of public and private art sculptures. While thinking about their projects, they realised that they were mostly commissioned to make statues of men. In New York City, only 3% of the statues are of women, and it is similar in other big cities around the world! This did not seem right to the couple, and so they decide to take matters into their own hands.
Statues for Equality: They began the Statues for Equality project to better represent women in public art and celebrate their contributions to society. The first ten bronze statues of inspirational women were unveiled in New York on 26th August this year to coincide with World Equality Day. They chose women from all walks of life from astronauts to actresses to conservationists [see more on each one below].
The project has taken off in New York but is growing into a worldwide campaign after more statues are planned in different countries such as Australia, U.K. and more. They are also keen that the figures are diverse, cutting across race, class, and other divides to be as widely representative as possible.
Their website has an active poll, and you can vote to turn a woman you admire into a world-famous statue! So make your recommendation today!
Check it out at: www.statuesforequality.com
Here is a little bit about each of these inspirational women:
Cate Blanchett is an award-winning actress, patron of the arts and a vocal environmental campaigner.
Gabby Douglas is a gymnast par excellence. She won gold in the individual and all-around competitions in the 2012 Olympics, becoming the first African American to do so at the same Olympics.
Tracy Dyson is one of the most high-profile women at the U.S. space agency NASA. She was on the mission that helped assemble the International Space Station in 2007, and three years later, she spent 176 consecutive days on the space station.
Perhaps the world’s most noted conservationist, Jane Goodall published astonishing findings on chimpanzee life. She is also the only person to be accepted into a chimpanzee society!
A talented and multi-award-winning actress, Nicole Kidman is a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, the United Nations Development Fund for Women and a champion for ending violence against women.
Janet Mock is a writer, producer, director, and major champion for transgender rights,. She began the #GirlsLikeUs, a social media project to bring attention to transgender women and their issues.
Besides having a phenomenal music career, pop sensation P!nk is a UNICEF Ambassador and an influential voice for issues of women’s rights and LGBTQ rights and a huge animal activist.
Janet Strayed is the writer of the beautiful Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, that traces her 1100 mile solo hike after she lost her mother to cancer. She is also a feminist activist and was on the first board of directors for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts
A teacher, scholar, humanitarian and author, Dr Tererai Trent is an outspoken leader for quality education and women’s empowerment. Despite having three children by age 18, she earned multiple degrees and became a global voice for universal access to education.
Probably the most well-known T.V. hosts ever, Oprah Winfrey is a firm believer that education leads to empowerment. She has donated over $140 million toward providing education for academically gifted girls from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Written by: Pereena Lamba. Pereena is a freelance writer, editor and creative consultant. She is also co-author of Totally Mumbai.