Central Park has 22 statues of historical figures, but none of them are women. Realizing that this is 2015 and we really should be over this whole sexism thing by now, the NYC Parks Commission is moving forward with an effort to construct more statues of women. Here are 10 awesome female candidates for a place of honor in Central Park:
1. Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Suffragette Stanton and her partner in crime Susan B. Anthony are probably going to be the first women bronzed in Central Park. Stanton’s great-great-granddaughter is currently leading the charge to honor these two historical figures, who worked to earn U.S. women the right to vote.
Sacajawea was a Native American woman who served as a translator and a guide for Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their journey to the west coast of the United States. In 2001 she was given the title of Honorary Sergeant, by President Bill Clinton.
3. Sojourner Truth
The former slave who fought for the abolition of slavery and for women’s suffrage. She’s famous for her “Ain’t I A Woman?” speech, in which she makes the case for female strength by recounting her days laboring on a plantation.
4. George Eliot
She wrote under a male pseudonym because female writers were not given as many publication opportunities in her time. Her works, such as Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda, are still widely read and respected today. And she’s certainly more well-known than Fitz-Greene Halleck, the writer who’s sitting on the east side at 66th Street.
5. Rosalind Franklin
If you’ve never heard of her, that’s because James Watson and Francis Crick took all of the credit for determining the structure of the DNA molecule, a discovery which relied heavily on Franklin’s work. She never received credit for her part, and unfortunately died young from ovarian cancer.
6. Margaret Thatcher
The first and only female prime minister of the United Kingdom. She worked closely with President Ronald Reagan, and she was nicknamed “The Iron Lady” for her uncompromising politics during the Cold War era.
7. Eva Perón
She was the first lady of Argentina in the late 40s and early 50s, and gained widespread political support for her vice presidential campaign, though she was forced to withdraw because of poor health. She was famous for helping the poor and speaking on behalf of the labor rights movement.
8. Mother Teresa
The Nobel Peace Prize winner who dedicated her life to running soup kitchens, schools, mobile clinics, and hospices for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy, and tuberculosis. Her foundation, Missionaries of Charity, spread to numerous countries around the world.
9. Frances Clalin
Clalin was one of several women who disguised themselves as men and fought in the Civil War. Clalin fought in 18 battles for the Union, was wounded three times and was taken prisoner once. It was later revealed that she was a mother of three, who had enlisted alongside her husband in the Union army.
10. Florence Nightingale
The founder of modern nursing, she established the first secular nursing school in the world, which still exists today. Her work during the Crimean War gave nursing a highly favorable reputation as a respectable profession.
These are just a few out of hundreds of badass women who deserve statues. Leave a comment with your favorite female historical figure whom you’d like to see in Central Park!