Campaign for more women statues gains new backing

WIFIE: Photographers looking to bring equality.
WIFIE: Photographers looking to bring equality.
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A GROUP of photographers is looking to bring equality into focus – by backing an Evening News campaign for more women statues in the Capital.

Members of Women In Focus In Edinburgh (WIFIE) have put on annual arts events in the city to tackle sex discrimination.

And now the 20-strong group, ranging from a student to great grandmother, are calling for great women to be honoured.

“100 per cent as a society we need to be looking at a variety of a people for our inspiration and look up to them,” said WIFIE chair Caroline Armstrong, 34.

“They are such fantastic people and we should learn more about them and have statues up to recognise their achievements. Everybody should get behind us and I see no reason why anyone shouldn’t”

The Evening News launched its campaign earlier this year in a city with more animal statues than women.

Members of WIFIE last year erected five blown-up photos of notable Edinburgh women to boost the number of statues for a week.

They chose figures from across arts and sciences, with pioneering suffragist doctor Elsie Inglis one of the five.

The event formed part of the Audacious Women Festival and drew national plaudits for helping highlight a lack of recognition.

Caroline said historical women were disadvantaged by education and social standing despite performing great deeds for the benefit of society.

They were caught in a “catch 22” scenario without public support and without the recognition to generate such backing.

“We all support making more women statues and put that right,” said Caroline. “For one week, we had five more statues in Edinburgh.

“We have done something to address it. As a group, we look at a variety of women’s issues and may revisit it again – I wouldn’t rule it out.”

This year’s WIFIE exhibition at Ocean Terminal had an environmental theme while women of all photographic skills, professional or amateur, are encouraged to join.

The News’ statue campaign, meanwhile, has drawn universal acclaim, including from across the political divide with the three leaders of the biggest parties all lending their support.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “It’s absolutely right that Edinburgh’s famous daughters should be recognised in the same way as its famous sons.

“The Capital has produced women who have achieved remarkable things in fields, including science, sport, literature and the arts.

“A statue of one of Edinburgh’s remarkable women would do a great deal to inspire young women living in and visiting the city Edinburgh and reinforce to them that they are only limited by their own ambitions.

“I’m absolutely delighted to lend my support to this campaign and look forward to seeing which of the city’s many important women is recognised.”