The first statue of a woman is finally to be erected in London’s Parliament Square.
A sculpture of suffragist Millicent Fawcett will be put up outside the Houses of Parliament in 2018, marking 100 years since women in the UK were granted the vote.
The Fawcett Society, a gender equality charity named after Fawcett, hailed the decision as a “fitting tribute” to the women’s rights campaigner.
Fawcett was a suffragist, meaning she was dedicated to peacefully campaigning for women’s suffrage, rather than a member of the more extreme suffragette movement.
Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said: “We are delighted that Millicent Fawcett, the woman who led the constitutional campaign for votes for women, will finally be honoured.
“A statue of her in Parliament Square will be a fitting tribute. Her contribution was great but she has been overlooked and unrecognised until now. By honouring her we also honour the wider suffrage movement.
“The Fawcett Society will be using the centenary next year to tell that story in all its diversity.
“None of this would have happened without the campaign that Caroline Criado-Perez launched last year for a suffrage statue in Parliament Square. That campaign won widespread support from JK Rowling to the Mayor of London. This statue is also a tribute to her and a testament to what one woman can achieve on behalf of all women.”
Speaking at even last year, Criado-Perez paid tribute to Fawcett.
She said: “Millicent Fawcett was there from the very beginning of the fight for women’s suffrage.
“At the age of 19 she organised signatures for the first petition for women’s votes to be handed to Parliament. She died the year after women were finally granted equal voting rights in 1928.
“It’s shocking that she doesn’t already have a statue of her own — and Parliament Square is the obvious place for her to be. Not round the corner, or up the road. Nothing less than Parliament Square will do.”
Criado-Perez tweeted her delight at the news on Sunday...
Lord Daniel Finkelstein, who first called for a statue of Millicent Fawcett in his Times column last year, also tweeted:
Many others also shared the good news on social media...
There are currently 11 statues of men in the square outside the Houses of Parliament - including Sir Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George and Nelson Mandela - but not a single woman.