The more-than-800 acres of New York City’s Central Park make up a peaceful oasis in the urban centre, designed to be inclusive and welcoming to both residents and visitors. But, for decades the park has been lacking one important feature – a single statue dedicated to real-life women. But that is set to soon change thanks to the efforts of those who wondered “where are the women?”
Central Park boasts statues depicting myriad male historical figures and fictional characters like Alice in Wonderland and Mother Goose, but no real women are currently honoured in the park. However, as the result of campaigning by advocates, a new site has now been selected for the Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Woman Suffrage Movement Monument.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the author of the Declaration of Sentiments, a founding document of the American women’s rights movement first presented in 1848. She and Susan B. Anthony together founded The Revolution, a suffragist newspaper, and the National Woman Suffrage Association. But the monument will also be designed to honour the memory of others who worked to further women’s rights, like Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, Mary Church Terrell, Anna Howard Shaw and Ida B. Wells-Barnett.
The new statue is planned to be unveiled in 2020 to mark the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the US constitution, which prohibits the government from denying women the right to vote. It will be erected on The Mall in Central Park on Literary Walk, and will become “the first figurative piece depicting real women in Central Park, and the park’s first commemorative sculpture installation since 1965”.
For anyone who wants to learn more about the history of Central Park, the Central Park Conservancy offers guided tours, including ones focusing on public art, wildlife and places of interest to kids.