Suffolk Suffragist Dame Millicent Fawcett to become first woman honoured with statue in Parliament Square
- Credit: Archant
A leading figure in the suffrage movement who grew up in one of Suffolk’s most famous families has become the first woman to be honoured with a statue in Parliament Square.
The Government said the statue of Dame Millicent Fawcett will be built next year to commemorate 100 years since women gained the vote in the UK.
It will stand alongside the likes of Sir Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela.
Dame Fawcett, who grew up in Aldeburgh, as the daughter of Newson Garrett, the businessman who built Snape Maltings, began a peaceful campaign in 1866 to get women the vote.
In contrast to the Suffragettes’ more militant tactics, Dame Millicent employed diplomacy to steer the case for women’s suffrage through Parliament.
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Hew Stevenson, Dame Millicent’s great-great-nephew has welcomed the announcement.
“I think it’s absolutely marvellous and very deserved,” he added.
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“I feel very proud of her.”
Margaret Young, who is also related and lives near Ipswich, said it was “wonderful news”.
“The family will be delighted that she has been recognised,” she added.
“She was a tremendous leader for the suffrage movement and involved right from the beginning.”
Tony Bone, chairman of the Aldeburgh History Society, among others, said the statue was “fantastic news”.
“It’s great that she is getting the recognition she deserves,” he added.
Sam Smethers, chief executive of The Fawcett Society, which campaigns for women’s rights and takes its name from Dame Millicent, said she was “delighted” to hear of the honour.
“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.”
She praised Caroline Criado-Perez whose campaign for a suffrage statue won widespread support from J.K. Rowling to the Mayor of London.
Prime Minister Theresa May said: “The example Millicent Fawcett set during the struggle for equality continues to inspire the battle against the burning injustices of today.
“It is right and proper that she is honoured in Parliament Square alongside former leaders who changed our country.
“Her statue will stand as a reminder of how politics only has value of it works for everyone in society.”
Dame Millicent’s older sister, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, is also to be honoured with commemorative events in October near the centenary of her death.
She was also heavily involved in campaigning for women’s rights and was the first woman to qualify as a doctor or to become a mayor, a title which she held in Aldeburgh. Visit here for details.