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)
  • kaylip-hol
    3/07/2016 - 09:56 a.m.

    I believe that people are doing good trying to get the woman statues. It's not cool to discriminate woman.

  • kaleyc-pla
    3/07/2016 - 01:16 p.m.

    This article discusses the under representation of women in historic statues. A group called "Where are the Women" would like to see this change because of the important roles women have played in our history. The group is raising funds to build statues of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton built in Central Park.

    It is important to build these statues to tell the stories of women throughout history. As the article states, this is less of a women's rights issue and more an issue of ignoring the contributions women have made to our country. These statues will help people to learn about and remember the roles of influential women.

  • brycep-kut
    3/07/2016 - 03:09 p.m.

    This is an important part of history .Many woman have a major part of history .Men have always ben noticed as major history figurs .

  • heidis-kut
    3/07/2016 - 03:23 p.m.

    I like that people/groups are noticing that there aren't many statues of women. Before I read this article, I never really thought about the statues in that kind of way. I always was just looking at what the statue was trying to tell us.

  • ashtonb-hol
    3/07/2016 - 03:27 p.m.

    This was a very good story. This was very entertaining. I liked how it talked about the Statue of Liberty.

  • emmad-git
    3/07/2016 - 04:38 p.m.

    I think it's a good idea for more women statues to be made because women statues are just as important as men statues.

  • sams1-ver
    3/07/2016 - 06:43 p.m.

    so would it be wrong to sit on the statue because is i saw that thing just siting right there i would have to sit on it.

  • maggiem-col
    3/07/2016 - 07:10 p.m.

    The military equestrian statues over-tell. These stories over tell stories that some women took part in.

  • brandonm-2-bar
    3/07/2016 - 07:41 p.m.

    The equestrian statues "overtell" that men were mainly part of the United States history, and exclude women. I personally did not like this article. History was mainly dominated be men, therefore more statues of men were created. The reason it's "too hard to find statues of notable women" is because women didn't play as much of an important role in United States history compared to men. I would like to the percent of female statues increase, but we shouldn't give more statues to women just because of they don't have enough. Statues are given/created to honor someone/something. Therefore you must have to accomplish something as a person to be given the honor of a statue. Statues are not made to be sexist, Men do not just get a statue for no reason. But the author and many others will just look at the statistics and make it seem sexist, even though I believe it's not.

  • lizv-pla
    3/08/2016 - 11:48 a.m.

    Summary - This article is about how the United State's history has male leaders and only a handful of female icons.
    Civic Engagement - The idea of women having a more difficulty becoming influential in our society made me think of the glass ceiling. There is a barrier that no matter how good an idea is a woman has it will never pass since females aren't taken seriously. Because sexism still is prevalent today it really does hold back for women to succeed in the "field of a man" and vice versa. This is just another barrier that some will have to overcome and us unfair and the glass ceiling is one of flaws in our governmental system because there are more male than females in our political world makes females' opinion less valued since they're out numbered.

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