The statue of Millicent Fawcett stands amid those of twelve statesmenRosie Bradbury

A statue commemorating suffragist and co-founder of Newnham College Millicent Fawcett was unveiled in Parliament Square on Tuesday this week – the only one of a woman so far.

Fawcett was a prominent women’s right campaigner in the early 20th century. As the founder and president of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, she led the campaign for women to receive the vote. She was also notable for her emphasis on peaceful campaigning, in contrast to the more militant group of suffragists known as the suffragettes.

Designed by Gillian Wearing, it is the first statue of a woman to be erected in Parliament Square. Fawcett is depicted as a 50 year old and holds a banner that reads: “Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere”, an extract from a speech she made following the death of suffragette Emily Wilding Davison, who was killed after she fell under a horse at the 1913 Epsom Derby.

The statue was the result of a campaign launched by feminist campaigner Caroline Criado Perez in 2016. Perez wanted Parliament Square to better represent the contributions made by women to Britain’s political and cultural landscape. Her subsequent petition for the statue gained over 85,000 signatures.


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Prime Minister Theresa May, London mayor Sadiq Khan and former deputy leader of the Labour party, Harriet Harman, were among the attendees at the formal unveiling of the statue.

Speaking at the ceremony, Theresa May said the statue would serve “not just as a reminder of Dame Millicent’s extraordinary life and legacy, but as inspiration to all of us who wish to follow in her footsteps”.