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Girl Scouts join campaign for statue of woman in Central Park

Published 09/10/2016

Girl Scouts highlight the case for a statue of a woman in Central Park, New York (AP)
Girl Scouts highlight the case for a statue of a woman in Central Park, New York (AP)

New York's Central Park features monuments honouring historic figures including Christopher Columbus, Alexander Hamilton, William Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott - but where are the women?

Discounting fictional characters like Mother Goose and Alice in Wonderland, none of the 23 statues of famous real humans scattered around the park's 843 acres of greenery are women - while e ven a heroic dog has its place.

Some Girl Scouts are now trying to change that. They have joined activists raising money for a park monument to two women who revolutionised the US - suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony.

"We're trying to crack the bronze ceiling," said Pamela Elam, who is spearheading the effort along with Stanton's great-granddaughter Coline Jenkins.

The aim of the awareness and fundraising campaign - called Central Park, Where Are The Women? - is to erect the statue by 2020, the centennial of US women's right to vote.

"There are no statues of women, and there's tons of men," said Girl Scout Pippa Lee, 10.

"We really need a woman's statue for girls to look up to, not just Mother Goose or Alice in Wonderland. They don't count."

The effort has drawn the support of the Central Park Conservancy, a private non-profit whose millions of dollars help beautify the urban oasis.

Parks commissioner Mitchell Silver has also given the green light to the suffragist monument, which is to rise by Central Park West at the 77th Street entrance.

So far, the group raising private donations - the Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony Statue Fund - has collected at least 150,000 US dollars (£120,600) of about 500,000 US dollars (£402,000) needed to create and maintain the monument. About the same amount would cover landscaping and an educational programme.

Girl Scouts recently collected 123 US dollars (£100) for the campaign from passers-by near the future statue site, while chanting: "Where are the women?"

Sunflowers graced the girls' hair, a symbol of the suffrage movement that began its march to victory with a convention in upstate New York in 1848.

The girls plan to collect donations in the park every Thursday throughout the autumn.

For the same cause, students from Manhattan's LaGuardia High School are selling bracelets inscribed with the words "Bring women of history out of the dark and into the park".

AP

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