Statues For Equality

Why Is A Female Statue So Important?

As public artists, we believe in the power of art and its ability to open peoples hearts and minds. Art can be there to teach us, inspire, challenge or just to make us smile. Public art has the ability to action real change, which we have been grateful to witness time and time again.

We are often asked, “why are Statues For Equality so important?” It’s a great question and one that doesn't come with a short answer! There has been a deep, imbedded imbalance of social roles and gender hierarchy between men and women throughout our past history. There have been so many stories, teachings, representations and opportunities to inspire from incredible females that have been completely lost. With our project, we want to make sure this won't happen ever again. There are as many stories from women that deserve to be shared and celebrated as there have been throughout the centuries for men, by 2030 we hope to make this a balanced reality. We are working to change the mentality of the world so that women are no longer overlooked, but instead honoured, empowered and acknowledged as they should be.

10 reasons why Statues For Equality is so important:

  1. To balance the gender and racial representation in public statues. Globally, women have been failed when it comes to honouring the heroes of the past and present in the form of a public sculpture. In nearly every country in the world, women only make up 2-3% of the public statues. This is by no means is due to a lack of deserving women.
  2. Statues are a big step towards true equality and real change. By changing the balance of gender in statues and normalising the success of women in a very public manner, the stigma around the worth and place of a woman in society will begin to change. This will open up many more opportunities for women in career paths, equal pay, and recognition for their accomplishments. It shows that equality is achievable in a very tangible and real way.
  3. Creating statues of women are an investment in the future of equality. Statues will stand for hundreds of years. We already have thousands of statues of men that the next generations will be able to learn from. Now we need to set the wheels in motion to ensure they learn about our women as well. If there are no women to look up to, how will the genders be represented in equal expression?
  4. Public statues are a reflection of a societies values and the things they find important. If women are not included in this public and visual depiction, it sends a very clear message that women and the contributions of women are/were not as important as those of men. We must make women be included to be able to change this mentality and to stop overlooking half of the whole that makes this world.
  5. Public statues tell stories of success and empowerment. There is no greater way to show success than to immortalise a story for the world to see. Public statues ensure that the story will live on long after the person has passed, teaching and inspiring future generations. It is so important to give this empowerment to women and to honour their success, both for the individual and society as a whole. There are many many women, both throughout history and today who have made an impact that deserves this platform. It is time to empower women and let these stories be known.
  6. Children of all genders must see the faces of women as inspiration. It is so very important to teach equality from a young age and this includes having examples in their everyday life. If children only see the faces of men in the statues this sends them a clear message on what is important. Young girls should be able to witness the faces and stories of leading women before them so they can see that gender does in fact not matter, you deserve the same opportunities and you can be a hero. Young boys must also see them, we have so much to learn from each other and to inspire each other as equals. 
  7. Statues begin discussions of women and their achievements. We can all think of inspiring and successful men without trouble. But sadly many people can struggle to name even a handful of successful women. This isn’t because there is a lack of them, it’s because they haven't been celebrated or represented on the same level. By encouraging discussion, statues of women will bring about awareness and understanding so people no longer need struggle to imagine a powerful woman. This conversation must be started in order for things to change.
  8. Diversity of statues is crucial. To have an open and accepting world, we need to come in to contact with people from many different walks of life whether that be their ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or career. By being able to see and learn about all these different people we can begin to broaden our thinking and become more understanding.
  9. Statues have the power of mass communication. We are living in a highly interconnected world. When there is a larger than life statue on display, people take notice and may document their experience with a photograph, they then may share this photo across their social media platforms, expanding the reach of that one statue to millions, if not billions of people. Therefore their message is carried all around the world, expanding much further than where the statue stands.
  10. They encourage global participation on the road to equality. By asking the public to nominate new women to be included in the project, Statues For Equality is getting the whole wide world involved! This project is asking people to think of all the deserving women in their life and how can we then share their story with the world for us all to learn about. The stories of empowered women all over the world are now being able to be told one statue at a time. Our goal is to reach 50% global parity by the year 2030.

Public spaces should represent a city’s diversity and values. However, if you were to take a stroll through New York City and admire its 150 statues, you would find that only 5 of them depict real women which is only 3.3%.: Joan of Arc, Golda Meir, Gertrude Stein, Eleanor Roosevelt and Har­riet Tubman.
This begs the question: have women really contributed to society in a big way?
“YES! Of course they have,” strongly asserts Gillie Schattner, “but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the marginalisation of women in public art.”
Gillie is part of the internationally renowned husband-and-wife artistic duo, Gillie and Marc, who are on a mission to balance gender representation in New York City’s public art scene.
“Of over 100 monumental artworks that Gillie and I have been commissioned to create,” says Marc, “we were floored to discover that only 1 was a woman! This is a dangerous realisation. Statues can either perpetuate sexist ideologies, or they can inspire young girls and boys to change biases, aspirations and perceptions about women in leadership and in history.”
The unfortunate reality is that it’s easier to find art depicting women as anonymous nudes, rather than strong inspirational figures, but the artists are on a mission to change this.
That’s why Gillie and Marc have personally teamed up with some of the world’s most powerful women, and are taking an artistic stand for equal rights with their launch of Statues for Equality on August 26th, Women’s Equality Day 2019.
The artistic activists are creating 10 larger-than-life statues of incredibly inspirational figures living today, depicting women as role models through public art. Among these women are Oprah Winfrey, Nicole Kidman, Jane Goodall, Janet Mock, Cate Blanchett, and more.
Statues for Equality will be exhibited outside 32 Old Slip in NYC, to show the empowerment that these amazing women represent, and foster big dreams in young boys and girls. The exhibition will be aligned with the hashtag #StatuesForEquality, allowing the public to share their united support for the cause.
“Our goal is to have a major city in each state erect a statue of an influential woman within the next five years,” says Gillie, “We hope that as the project expands, it will include a broader diversity of race, class, ability, sexual orientation and gender expression.”
Gillie and Marc feel so strongly about the importance of equality in public art that they have entirely self-funded the project, with each bronze sculpture valued at over $100,000.
“In order to truly honor the cause, it was crucial we cast the statues in bronze,” explains Marc, “to have one’s likeness cast in bronze is an unmistakable message that your contributions should not, and will not be forgotten. Instead, they will live on, much like the statue itself, beyond your lifetime and the lives of your contemporaries.”
Gillie and Marc are asking agents of social change, fellow artists, city councils, commissioning bodies and people across the world to look at public art differently, and create a more inspiring future for equal rights.
Are you ready to join the movement?