A campaign in the UK has been launched to petition the new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to commission and install a suffagette statue in Parliament Square. All eleven statutes currently in the Square are of men. The campaign was launched by Caroline Criado-Perez (who began the campaign to put Jane Austen's image on the new Ten-Pound note) Caroline writes:
The women who fought for our rights - the suffragettes - deserve to be commemorated in front of the building they were locked out of for centuries.
We wholeheartedly endorse the campaign to commemorate the suffragettes.
However, we are mindful of the symbolism of statuary that depicts women stuck outside the parliament.
We remember that Emily Wilding Davison, who threw herself under the King's horse, had hidden in a cupboard in the parliament building on the night of the 1911 Census so that she could enter her address as the parliament at Westminster.
We advocate a truly lasting memorial of legislating now to require equal gender representation in parliament.
The English MP, Tony Benn advocated that each electorate vote for and be represented by both a male and a female MP (which is the goal of democracy5050.com). He erected a few of his own memorials in Parliament House including a plaque in a broom cupboard in the crypt of the building.
Tony Benn said in the House of Commons in 2001: 'I have put up several plaques—quite illegally, without permission; I screwed them up myself. One was in the broom cupboard to commemorate Emily Wilding Davison, and another celebrated the people who fought for democracy and those who run the House. If one walks around this place, one sees statues of people, not one of whom believed in democracy, votes for women or anything else. We have to be sure that we are a workshop and not a museum.'
The inscription on Benn's plaque in the cupboard in the crypt read:
In loving memory of Emily Wilding Davison
In this broom cupboard Emily Wilding Davison hid herself, illegally, during the night of the 1911 Census.
She was a brave suffragette campaigning for votes for women at a time when Parliament denied them that right.
In this way she was able to record her address on the night of the census as being 'The House of Commons' thus making her claim to the same political rights as men.
Emily Wilding Davison died in June 1913 from injuries sustained when she threw herself under the King's horse at the Derby to draw attention to the public injustice suffered by women.
By such means was democracy won for the people of Britain.
Notice placed here by Tony Benn MP
'I must tell you, Mr. Speaker, that I am going to put a plaque in the House, I shall have it made myself and screwed on the door of the brown cupboard in the Crypt.'