WASHINGTON — Out of 160 monuments and memorials gracing the nation’s capital, just over 50 sculptures include female figures – a ratio now in the spotlight courtesy of our neighbor to the north.
The New York Times first reported Wednesday the city’s first lady, Chirlane McCray, said Gotham grapples with a “glaring” under representation of female statues.
Most of New York City’s female sculptures immortalized in stone and bronze are allegories, à la Statue of Liberty, rather than real historical figures.
But Ms. McCray announced four new statues commissioned to commemorate New York heroines – Billie Holiday, Helen Rodríguez Trías, Elizabeth Jennings Graham and Katherine Walker.
“Public monuments should tell the full history and inspire us to realize our potential, not question our worth,” McCray said.
“In honoring these four trailblazers today, New Yorkers will have the opportunity to see powerful women who made history receive the recognition they deserve.”
Just five of the New York City’s 150 statues currently depict women, according to the She Built NYC initiative.
While the ratio is higher in Washington, only one statue on the National Mall depicts a female historic figure – Eleanor Roosevelt, tucked away in an alcove near the Tidal Basin.
Visible high above the Mall grounds, the U.S. Capitol’s Statue of Freedom is female – but not technically a real, historic figure.
As the nation commemorates Women’s History Month, Curbed DC has an interactive map of every female statue in the District.
None of the 44 memorials maintained by the National Parks Service specifically focus on women.