Council’s International Women’s Day invitation to nominate women for new statues
Lord Mayor Sally Capp used the platform of International Women’s Day to call on Melbournians to nominate inspirational women for statues in the city.
Community consultation opened on the City of Melbourne’s online Participate Melbourne portal on March 7 and will close on April 19.
To meet the selection criteria, the nominations must have major significance to the development of Melbourne or Victoria, and/or be of special importance to a particular community. They should represent the diversity of Melbourne’s story and reflect the inclusive, progressive, diverse, and bold values of contemporary Melbourne.
“I’ve already received so many texts of fantastic women this morning,” Cr Capp said. “My sister, who loves lipsticks, reminded me that Helena Rubinstein started here as a Polish immigrant and built the cosmetic empire in Melbourne.”
“One of my favourites as inspiration is Vida Goldstein, who was a leading international suffragist and the first woman to stand for the federal parliament.”
Here in Australia, what living role models they are! But their stories are not currently seen or understood.
Currently, in Melbourne, only nine out of 580 statues represent women. Only five of 25 statues in the City of Melbourne land depict women.
On December 6 last year, the council passed a motion to build three new statuses of prominent women. It’s working with private landholders, companies, philanthropists, and the Victorian Government to facilitate the development of the statues, such as access to land for the installation of statues.
Local artists will also be engaged during the creation of the statues, as a way of supporting the Australian creative sector and home-grown talents.
Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece believed that this program would help give proper public recognition of women’s outstanding achievements.
“The underrepresentation of women in public spaces is a national issue, in every state and every capital city – and we’re proud to be leading the way by taking action to rectify the imbalance here in Melbourne,” he said.
Cr Capp said the new statues would be developed in the coming years.
“We won’t stop there. We’ll continue to look at more ways we can better represent and recognise women across our city,” she said.
Existing statues of women in the City of Melbourne include:
- Betty Cuthbert, Brunton Ave MCG
- Shirley Strickland, Brunton Ave MCG
- Joan of Arc, State Library forecourt
- Joyce Oldmeadow, State Library forecourt
- Queen Victoria, Queen Victoria Gardens
Caption: (left to right) Cr Elizabeth Doidge, Lord Mayor Sally Capp and Rebecca Coates.