Pin It
Miriam and Holly with a protestor at the Women's March
Miriam and Holly with a protestor at the Women's MarchCourtesy of Erect More Women

These activists are campaigning for more statues of women

The Erect More Women campaign is aiming to take over the coveted Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square

Despite the fact that they're literally inanimate objects, statues have a pretty powerful voice. That voice could be used to venerate the actions of powerful men, or to become the centre of a far-right rally in Charlottesville – statues, with all their weighty symbolism, are often embroiled in controversy.

So when a 2016 New Statesman article revealed that only 2.7% of the UK’s statues are non-royal women, these silent stone objects once again spoke a thousand words. Next month, artist Gillian Wearing will reveal her statue of suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett to mark 100 years of women’s suffrage – it will be the first ever female monument to be erected in London’s Parliament Square, and Wearing will be the first ever female sculptor to have work displayed there. 

Outraged by such a low percentage, and motivated by Criado-Perez and Wearing's breakthrough, 25-year-old advertising creatives Holly Hunter and Miriam Pick decided to take action, launching the campaign Erect More Women. According to the website, their campaign’s aim is to erect a ‘fabulous female statue’ on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square.

“Parliament Square is filled with men,” Hunter tells Dazed when explaining the inspiration behind the project. “Millicent Fawcett (is being) erected, but we thought, ‘one isn’t enough’. What about all the other women out there?” In light of the current #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, it seems only fitting that the pair are asking the public to submit drawings of the female idol they’d most like to see carved in everlasting stone.

Hunter and Pick have so far acquired over 200 drawings via social media, and at the Women’s March in London on March 4. The pair will submit every single drawing to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in time for International Women’s Day on March 8. “We’ve already been tweeting him quite ferociously,” Pick tells Dazed, “but we haven’t had a response as of yet. I think he’d be up for it though.”

The drawings range from famous heroes, including aviator Amelia Earhart and American activist Rosa Parks, right through to old music teachers, body positive female forms, and more abstract concepts representing particular groups of women. One drawing even features the first and only astronaut cat. 

This diversity is what gives the campaign such charm, and the duo want it to be reflected through the people submitting drawings too: “It’s not just women recognising women, it’s about everyone recognising women and their part in history and the future”, Pick explains.

“It's not just women recognising women, it's about everyone recognising women and their part in history and the future” – Miriam Pick

While several female artists have contributed work to the Fourth Plinth, there has only ever been one statue depicting a woman – Marc Quinn’s sculpture of artist Alison Lapper in 2005. (However, like David Shrigley’s thumbs up currently on display, most of the previous artworks have been objects.)

With Michael Rakowitz and Heather Phillipson already commissioned as the next artists to occupy the coveted spot, the Erect More Women campaigners might be waiting a while to see their dream come true. But the pair remain optimistic. “We’ll definitely continue with the campaign. I don’t think it should ever stop,” Pick asserts.

The pair have also contributed their own drawings, with Hunter opting for Mary Quant, the revolutionary designer behind the mini skirt. Whoever makes the cut in the end, though, let’s all just take a minute to be thankful that it won’t ever be this monstrous statue of Margaret Thatcher.

Submit your drawings here before March 8.