Outnumbered by men and goats, more women to be celebrated in UK statues

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - From politicians and doctors to activists and athletes, 25 living female heroes dedicated to helping society will be celebrated in statues to help commemorate more women in Britain.

The ‘Put Her Forward’ project, organized by charity The National Trust, aims to double the number of non-mythical and non-royal statues of women in Britain in a year when the country marks the centenary of women winning the vote.

Project organizers said there are currently more statues of goats and people called John than of everyday women, and only about a sixth of Britain’s 925 public statues represent women.

“The real aim ... is to have a conversation about the representation of women,” they said in a statement online.

“The reason we have so few statues of women is not because we are short of inspirational women ... with enough time and resources we could have another 925 statues of women!”

The public has been invited to nominate women who have had a positive impact on society, with the likes of Layla Hussein, a campaigner against female genital mutilation (FGM), and British Paralympic champion Tanni Grey-Thompson up for consideration.

“Let’s get nominating so we have more statues of women than men called John or GOATS!,” WomenEd, a grassroots movement fighting for gender equality in education, said on Twitter.

Yet the size of the statues - which are set to be unveiled across England in September - has caused some consternation as they are set to be smaller than the gold statues handed out to winners of the Oscars.

The honoring of women comes amid debate about the extent of the gender pay gap in Britain with men paid on average 18.4 percent more than women, according to government data last year.

The ‘Put Her Forward’ project follows a similar initiative in New York where only five of 150 statues were of living women.