To commemorate 100 years of women’s suffrage Manchester City Centre is set to get its first statue of a woman since the bronze statue of Queen Victoria was unveiled in 1901.
There are currently 17 statues in Manchester City Centre, 16 of which are of men. Following a unanimous vote by local councillors wanting to address the gender imbalance the W♀Manchester Statue Project, spearheaded by Andrew Simcock (Labour Councillor representing Didsbury), was birthed.
The W♀Manchester Statue Project earmarked twenty women for consideration who have made a significant contribution to Manchester and, in many cases, to the country. The list includes famous names such as Emmeline Pankhurst – leading suffragist, and Marie Stopes – birth control pioneer, and less prominent names such as Elizabeth Raffald, 18th Century business woman.Also on the long-list of twenty candidates is the late Louise Da-Cocodia MBE “affectionately known as Mrs D”. Born in Jamaica, Louise Da-Cocodia moved to Britain in 1955 to train as a nurse and was eventually promoted to Assistant Superintendent of District Nurses, making her the first Black senior nursing officer in Manchester. During her inspiring lifetime she made significant contributions in Manchester and throughout the rest of the UK with achievements include co-founding Arawak Walton Housing Association and Cariocca Enterprises Ltd, as well as serving on the regional Race Relations Board committees (later known as the Commission for Racial Equality).
Of the twenty women candidates, a shortlist will be announced and put forward for public vote giving Mancunians the opportunity to choose which woman will be immortalised in statue. The planned unveiling is set to coincide with International Women’s Day in March 2019.
When asked about the project, Councillor Simcock said: “We have the chance to appropriately mark the 100th anniversary of the landmark of women achieving the vote by unveiling this statue. This resolution is about what Mancunian women have achieved for the city and the wider world, something we should celebrate.”
The council expects the statue to cost around £500,000 but Simcock said “not one penny” will come from Manchester’s public purse. To cover costs there will be a series of fundraising activities taking place throughout the summer and donations can also be made through the project’s JustGiving page. Donate [spacer style=”1″]
Over to You[accordion][acc title=”The Full List of Candidates”]
- Margaret Ashton, 1856-1937, first female councillor in Manchester and suffragist
- Lydia Becker, 1827-1890, suffragist and co-founder of the Manchester Women’s suffrage committee
- Louise Da-Cocodia, 1934-2008, anti-racism campaigner and fighter for social justice
- Margaret Downes, died 1819, martyred at the Peterloo massacre
- Elizabeth Gaskell, 1810-1865, Victorian novelist and social reformer
- Annie Horniman, 1860-1937, founder of the first regional repertory theatre
- Sunny Lowry, 1911-2008, first British woman to swim the channel
- Hannah Mitchell, 1872-1956, suffragist, socialist and Manchester city councillor
- Kathleen Ollerenshaw, 1912-2014, former Lord Mayor and advisor to Margaret Thatcher
- Emmeline Pankhurst, 1858-1928, suffragette
- Sylvia Pankhurst, 1882-1960, suffragette
- Christabel Pankhurst, 1880-1958, suffragette
- Elizabeth Raffald, 1733-1781, businesswoman and prolific author. Set up Manchester’s first register office, mum of 16 daughters
- Esther Roper, 1868-1938, partner of Eva Gore-Booth, trade unionist and suffragist
- Enriquetta Rylands, 1843-1908, founder of the John Rylands library and first female freeman of the city of Manchester
- Olive Shapley, 1910-1999, broadcaster and educationist
- Shena Simon, 1883-1972, educationist and political reformer
- Marie Stopes, 1880-1958, birth control pioneer and women’s rights campaigner
- Ellen Wilkinson, 1891-1947, Labour MP for Jarrow and co-organiser of the 1935 Jarrow march
- Emily Wilkinson, 1855-1936, Co-founder of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Further details about the lives and contributions of these women can be found here > www.womanchesterstatue.org
Which one of these iconic women do you think should be immortalised in a statue? Cast your vote in the comments below.[spacer style=”1″]