Statue of Suffolk suffragist set for Parliament Square

Fawcett Speaks

This is Millicent Fawcett. "The first statue to acknowledge that while movements may need leaders, those leaders are nothing without the people who fight alongside them".

Parliament Square will get its first ever statue of a woman today, when the sculpture of suffragist campaigner Millicent Fawcett is unveiled by the UK's second female Prime Minister.

The statue comes after nearly 85,000 people signed a petition from feminist activist and journalist Caroline Criado Perez to get a statue of a woman in Parliament Square.

Asked how it felt to see the statue being unveiled just two years after launching the petition, she said: "I can't really take the whole thing in".

As well as being the first statue of a woman in Parliament Square, it's also the square's first statue designed by a woman. Are there any talented women with ideas?

The movement went on to gain the support of the Mayor of London and the Prime Minister, and the bronze figure was commissioned, and then produced by Turner Prize victor Gillian Wearing.

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The unveiling on Tuesday comes seven months after the statue, which features a 50-year-old Fawcett holding a banner reading "Courage calls to courage everywhere", first went into production.

Fawcett campaigned over a century ago for women to have the right to vote, leading to a parliamentary bill in 1918 that gave the vote to women over the age of 30.

The line is taken from a speech made by Fawcett after the death of suffragette Emily Wilding Davison, who was killed after throwing herself under King George V's horse at the 1913 Epsom Derby.

It was not until 1928 that British women gained the same voting rights as men, but the 1918 act was a major step that put the kingdom ahead of some contemporaries such as France.

Ms Criado Perez launched the campaign for a Fawcett statue from her phone, as she sat on a bench outside Buckingham Palace at the end of her run.

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