Millicent Fawcett: Statue of suffragist to be unveiled in London

Artist, Gillian Wearing,.
Caroline Teo/GLA/PA


Artist Gillian Wearing, said she was “really delighted that planning has been granted”

A statue commemorating the life of the suffragist, Millicent Fawcett, will be unveiled opposite Parliament later.

She campaigned for women’s right to vote during the early 20th Century and is seen as one of the most influential feminists of the past 100 years.

The bronze casting, which has been created by the artist Gillian Wearing, features her holding a banner reading “courage calls for courage everywhere.”

It is the first statue of a woman to be erected in Parliament Square.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who will attend Tuesday’s unveiling, said the work would serve as a reminder of her extraordinary life and legacy.

The statue was commissioned as part of this year’s celebration of the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act – which gave some women over the age of 30 the vote.

It followed a campaign by the feminist writer and activist Caroline Criado Perez, who also led last year’s successful effort to get Jane Austen to appear on the 10 pound note.

She said she came up with the idea for the statue when she was out running on International Women’s Day in 2016 and realised the only historical figures commemorated there were men.

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Media captionWho were the suffragists?

The 11 existing statues include Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, William Gladstone and Mahatma Gandhi.

Millicent Fawcett formed the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies in 1897. The organisation used peaceful tactics to campaign, including non-violent demonstrations, petitions and the lobbying of MPs.

They shared the same aims, but had different methods, to the suffragettes – the more radical group led by Emmeline Pankhurst.

Dame Millicent died in 1929, a year after women were granted the vote on equal terms to men.