Who Will Be Your Welsh Hidden Heroine? Vote to decide who will be immortalised as the first public statue of a historical Welsh woman in Wales.
A public vote to choose Wales’ first statue of a notable Welsh woman forgotten to history is being launched today by BBC Wales. People across the nation will be given the opportunity to have their say on which of five historical Welsh women they think should be honoured with a statue in the capital city.
The Hidden Heroines campaign is the brain child of a group of Cardiff based business women, journalists, academics and leaders in the arts – working under the Monumental Welsh Women banner.
The shortlisted five are:
Elizabeth Andrews (1882-1960) Women and children’s rights campaigner.
Betty Campbell (1935–2017) Wales’ first black head teacher and champion of multicultural rights.
Cranogwen – Sarah Jane Rees (1839-1916) Master-mariner, poet and journalist.
Elaine Morgan (1920 -2013) Author, TV dramatist and evolutionary theorist.
Lady Rhondda – Margaret Haig Thomas (1883-1958) Suffragette, global business-woman and campaigner.
The shortlist for the statue was drawn up by a panel of experts put together by the Monumental Welsh Women group, from a list by Women’s Equality Network Cymru of 50 historical Welsh women, which formed part of last year’s centenary celebrations of some women getting the vote.
‘Not only are there no statues, but it is actually quite difficult to find the stories of women who have ‘achieved’,’ says Helen Molyneux, a member of the Monumental Welsh Women group.
‘Where are the every day images of the women who have achieved so much in Wales over the centuries? We have statues of plenty of men but none of women. How can we normalise female success and achievement if we don’t get the same every day recognition as our male counterparts?’
Following the group’s campaign, Cardiff City Council has agreed to the statue being placed in the plaza outside BBC Wales’ new headquarters in the city’s Central Square development, where it will be seen by the thousands of visitors and commuters who visit Cardiff every day, as they leave the Central Station. The monument, which is being partly funded by Welsh Government will be unveiled in the summer of 2020.
Following the result of the public vote, an artist will be chosen to design and make the the statue. Three world class artists in the running for the commission – Laura Ford, from Cardiff, Lucy Orta, and Eve Shepherd. They will each produce concept designs after the announcement of the winner of the vote and one design will be chosen to take forward.
All this week profiles of each of the five women shortlisted will be broadcast on BBC Radio Wales’ Good Morning Wales, BBC Radio Cymru’s Post Cyntaf, BBC Wales Today and Newyddion 9 on S4C. Full details of the Hidden Heroines project and information on how to vote is available on BBC Wales’ Hidden Heroines website.
Helen Molyneux says, ‘We are delighted that the BBC are hosting the vote for the statue. Showcasing the achievements of these women on BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio Wales and the television evening news programme, Wales Today is hopefully the start of a much bigger conversation about the role of women in Welsh history and the impact their achievements have had.’
The vote to choose your Welsh Hidden Heroine opens at 9.30pm on Friday, January 11th and closes at 9.30pm on Wednesday, January 16th. The winner will be announced live on BBC Wales Today on Friday, January 18th.
BBC Learning has produced educational resources based on the five heroines that are aimed at key stage two teachers. Each teaching pack contains a film, lesson plan and activities for children aged 7-11. The resources give an insight into historical events that took place during their lifetimes and compare them with modern Wales. The content assists with elements of the National Literacy and Numeracy Framework as well as the Digital Competence Framework.