It’s way too hard to find statues of notable women in the U.S. Statues of a lady and girl sitting beside manicured bush. (Thinkstock)
It’s way too hard to find statues of notable women in the U.S.
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When you walk the streets of cities like New York and Washington, D.C., it's hard to miss the sculptures. Many mark parks and neighborhoods. Historic figures often can be seen standing upright. Or they can be seen sitting on their horses, stoically striking a pose. More often than not, these statues have another thing in common. It's their gender. The majority of public statues in the United States are of men.

Of the estimated 5,193 public statues depicting historic figures on display throughout the U.S., only 394 are of women. This is according to a story written in 2011 by The Washington Post's Cari Shane. Compounding this number, none of the 44 memorials maintained by the National Parks Service, like the Lincoln Memorial or the Jefferson Memorial, specifically focuses on women.
 
A group is looking to change this ratio. The group is called Where Are The Women? Recently, it successfully campaigned to have statues of women's rights pioneers Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton added to New York's Central Park. The park, notoriously, had no statues of non-fictional women on its grounds. The group is raising funds to build the suffragettes.
 
The lack of women's representation poses a problem. Leaving their stories out from public art takes away from the significant roles that women have played in history.

As Shane writes: "U.S. history is not just the record of the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, as told through the stories of their ranking officers. But that's largely what it looks like in Washington, D.C., where military equestrian statues occupy virtually every circle and square in the L'Enfant Plan. They're inoffensive. But these public spaces are wasted on statues that over-tell one story to a people who have long grown oblivious to hearing it."

Currently, few of the statues that do show women on city streets are modeled on historic figures. This is according to Kriston Capps. She was writing for CityLab. Instead, women often appear as archetypes. They are symbols of abstract concepts. Or they are nameless figures in a memorial.
 
One campaign isn't enough to solve ongoing issues of gender discrimination and inequality in the U.S. But by pressing to honor real women from history, cities can restore them to a story that has ignored them for so long. After all, as it stands now, only five public statues of historic women remain in New York City.  The statues are of Joan of Arc, Golda Meir, Gertrude Stein, Eleanor Roosevelt and Harriet Tubman.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What kinds of stories do equestrian statues "overtell?"
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (50)
  • TehyaWhite-Ste
    3/04/2016 - 12:34 p.m.

    I think it's a good idea for more women statues to be made because the women who made a difference in history are just as important as the men who made a difference and now everybody who comes as sees the statues can see that.

  • lancet-612-
    3/04/2016 - 03:10 p.m.

    When I saw the comparison of men to women statues I was shocked and I believe that we need more statues of women.

  • taylorp-1-bar
    3/04/2016 - 06:26 p.m.

    Equestrian statues "ovetell" that most of American history was all about men, and not about women, due to the lack of women statues. On paragraph 4, it says, " The lack of women's representation posed a problem. Leaving out their stories from public arts takes away from the significant roles that women have played in history." I enjoyed this article because I am a woman and I would like to see more woman statues

  • heatherm-4-bar
    3/04/2016 - 08:47 p.m.

    I find this article very interesting because it is true that there are more boy statues than girls that use I am a woman myself and I would definitely take more interest if there's more women statues are in the world.

  • paulo-hol
    3/04/2016 - 09:18 p.m.

    I think it is good that people are starting to focus things like that since women have a great part of history.

  • jordans-kut
    3/05/2016 - 09:10 a.m.

    I think that this is a great article to put on tween tribune so that people will learn that we do not have Meany girl statues, but we can make some because a lot of girls have done great things in this world. by the way someday I will really want to go see the statue of liberty.

  • michaelf-kut
    3/05/2016 - 02:19 p.m.

    We have lots of statues of past presidents. We don't need so many of them, because we are in the age of the internet, and we can just look them up. If the statues are there to tell their story, then you can just simply refer people to a website with facts about that president.

  • TaylorSeifert-Ste
    3/05/2016 - 09:45 p.m.

    Just as women are gaining representation in the workforce and politics, they are also gaining representation in the world of statues. It is important to represent all significant figures who have great roles in the history of the U.S., doing so by recognizing mainly those of the male gender is not exactly offensive, but it is not equal.

  • stephaniek-kut
    3/06/2016 - 09:07 p.m.

    I think that we should have more women statues. I think that we should because we need to show that women where a part of great historical moments, such as the Civil War. Having this part of history emphasised would be great for women. It would show that they are just as equal as men.

  • christianc-ver
    3/07/2016 - 09:24 a.m.

    They overtell the stories of the battles in which the US have been part of such as the revolutionary and civil wars.

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