Why a statue for Mary Anning?

Firstly...

We want to acknowledge and remember Mary in a visual way because we want to give her a tangible work of art that will not only give her back a physical presence in her Lyme Regis but will equally give the people of Lyme and the thousands of tourists that come to visit every year a focal point of remembrance and respect. We see the statue as an inspirational presence in the landscape where she worked, to inspire and show people, young and old, locals and visitors alike, that great things can be achieved from almost impossible circumstances.

Secondly...

Evie, our inspiration for the campaign, told us that when she grows up she wants to go into outer space, not as an astronaut (she was very clear about that) but to be in space. To do that she knows she has to work hard at her STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) and make sure she passes all her exams. When you consider that statistically speaking girls outperform boys in STEM subjects at GCSE and A Level, as long as she studies hard she should have a good chance of achieving her space dream. But here's the thing, even though school-age girls excel at STEM, when it comes to selecting and attending university and going on into careers in the sciences there is a huge decline, girls are just not taking up STEM subjects, especially in Engineering, Technology and Computer Sciences.

Marian Wright Edelman, the American activist for the rights of children once said, ‘You can't be what you can't see'. If we do not visualise for children, the women who have been written out of history because of their sex then what futures for all our children can we hope for?

We think and we hope you do too, that a visual celebration of Mary Anning's incredible contributions to science is the perfect way to address this imbalance, to create an example, especially for our young women to follow.

We also strongly believe a statue for Mary will set in motion a wider debate, a discussion for all the forgotten women of history and their marginalised and forgotten contributions to the world we now all live in.

Thirdly...

We want to readdress a great imbalance here in the UK - and we suspect this isn’t just a British issue but one that is a global problem.

Did you know that over 85% of statues in Great Britain celebrate the achievements and deeds of men? And only 2.7% of civic monuments commemorate named women. There are more statues in the UK of men called John than there are of all women. In Dorset alone, where Mary Anning was born, there are more statues of animals than there are of women. Even more shockingly, and hard to believe, in the whole of the Southwest of England, which includes Dorset, Devon, and Cornwall there is only one example, a bust to Agatha Christie.

So, you can see where we are going with this and please do correct us if we are wrong. We would love someone to show us a statue in the Southwest of England that is not Queen Victoria, the Mother of Christ, a nude or a scantily clad nymph.

Mary Anning Rocks believe it’s about time we did something about this symbolic annihilation of women both past and present. We believe passionately that we need to start to readdress this inequity and honour the millions of women who have transformed Britain for the better. We can start that right here, right now, by erecting a statue for Mary Anning in Lyme Regis on the Jurassic Coast where she figuratively and literally carried out her ground-breaking work.

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