This time last year our Stature project was in the planning stages. Helen was beginning her crocheting marathon and Jenny was starting to swot up about the lives of the eight women we’d be celebrating. We never imagined that within 12 months our project would inspire a Council resolution to formally honour the achievements of a local woman
Our installation aimed to highlight how women’s accomplishments can be ignored, devalued, and written out of history leaving a lack of diverse female role models. Of 640 listed statues in the UK, only 15% are of women and most of those are of monarchs or topless mythological characters. We thought that yarnbombing Town Hall man busts with crochet masks of local women would be the perfect way to highlight this monumental gender imbalance.
It’s so exciting that our crochet crusade inspired Councillor Andrew Simcock to seek Manchester City Council support for a statue celebrating a local woman. Yesterday we restaged our Stature exhibition for councillors on their way to vote on the proposal.
Simcock, and Josie Teubler who seconded the motion spoke passionately about the importance of equally celebrating the achievements of men and women. Other speakers highlighted that while suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst may be well known, there are so many unsung heroines who’ve helped shape the history of Manchester who are no less deserving of recognition.
The Council voted unanimously in support of the statue which is set be launched for International Women’s Day in March 2019. It won’t cost local taxpayers a penny. A group of councillors and external advisors will oversee the fundraising, artist commission, and choice of women to be portrayed. The selection of artist and woman will be down to a public vote.
Next year Andrew Simcock will embark on an epic fundraising cycle ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats. His journey will be divided into 20 stages, each dedicated to raising awareness of a particular woman.
While ultimately only one woman will be immortalized in statue form, it’s great that the statue project will boost the profile of a number of local heroines and get the city talking about inspiring women’s achievements.