Women’s groups have warned the government that a campaign to honour more than 1,700 war heroes with statues will further exacerbate...
Oh, god, let me guess...
...the “astonishing” gender imbalance of the UK’s civic statues.
Yup! Thought so...
The Common Sense Group of Conservative MPs has proposed that every recipient of the Victoria Cross and George Cross be immortalised with a statue in their place of birth. Just 11 of the 1,761 holders of these honours are women, according to the Fawcett Society.
Well, yes. Women haven't - historically - been to war. Give it a few more decades and there may be more. But the men will always likely outstrip them.
InVisiblewomen, a virtual museum and national campaign for gender equality in UK civic statues, says that while all 1,761 are heroic people, to erect statues of so many men would be wholly retrograde.
So you can't have a well-deserved award because of your sex? Isn't that illegal discrimination?
In a letter to Sir John Hayes, the chair of the Common Sense Group, and copied to Dowden and Jenrick, Terri Bell-Halliwell, the founder of inVisiblewomen, writes: “The best estimate of the number of UK statues of named non-royal men was 500 at last count in 2016, while named non-royal women numbered just 25. Given this astonishing existing imbalance, I was shocked by the proposal of the Common Sense Group concerning the erection of statues to all holders of both the Victoria and George Cross.”
She told the ministers that there are a number of active campaigns for statues of women, including the suffragettes Mary Jane Clarke, Amy Walmsley and Sylvia Pankhurst, the palaeontologist Mary Anning, the MP Barbara Castle, the author Virginia Woolf and the Matchgirls, the working-class women and girls who became pioneers in the unionist movement by campaigning for better conditions at their London matchmaking factory.
“If the public purse is really to be used for new statues surely it is these women who should have first call on such funding? Even if every one of them had a statue, we would still not have come close to gender equality in who we look up to on civic plinths, but at least it would be a step in the right direction,” she wrote.
I've got a better idea: let's send the SAS to burst into Terri's bedroom, kit her out, and drop her into Iraq. If she makes it back alive, she gets a medal and a statue!