A leading suffragist who played a key role in securing women older than 30 the right to vote in 1918, Millicent Fawcett became the first woman to have a statue in London’s Parliament Square which is already home to 11 statues of men including Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, and Mahatma Gandhi.
Millicent Fawcett’s bronze statue was designed by artist Gillian Wearing and unveiled on Tuesday. The statue secured a spot-on London’s iconic plaza a century after women in the U.K. won the right to vote.
Caroline Criado Perez said at a formal unveiling of the statue, “Women are still woefully underrepresented in all areas of British cultural and political life, not least in its statues.” Further, she added, “With this statue of Millicent Fawcett, the first statue of a woman, and the first statue by a woman, in this iconic location, we’re making one hell of a start on changing that.”
Theresa May, British Prime Minister wrote, “I would not be here today as PM, no female MPs would have taken their seats in Parliament, none of us would have the rights and protections we now enjoy, were it not for Millicent Fawcett.” Theresa May told the crowd that Millicent campaigned for more than six decades for women.
Millicent Fawcett was born in 1847 in Suffolk. At 12 years old, Millicent was sent to London to learn at a private school. Fawcett heard John Stuart Mill talk about equivalent rights for ladies while living in London. The speech, joined with her senior sister’s battles to get therapeutic capabilities, incited Fawcett to dedicate herself completely to the suffrage development.
Fawcett wrote, “I cannot say I became a suffragist. “I always was one, from the time I was old enough to think at all about the principles of Representative Government.”
In 1929 Millicent Fawcett died in London.