Commemoration of Women’s Contribution in the Public Sphere of New York City

The profusion of opportunities this city has to offer to its residents and tourists is clear from the rich list of must-see places above. Thus, it is very disappointing to discover that as far as the women’s heritage shown in NYC, there is relatively little to see. That is prominent for example, since although there are 200 full-sized figurative statues around the city, out of that number only 5 are statues of real women (besides additional three that are of fictional female characters: Alice in Wonderland, Shakespeare’s Juliet and Mother Goose).

At 72nd Street and Riverside Drive there is the Eleanor Roosevelt Statue; In Riverside Park is the one of Joan of Arc; In 1984 inaugurated the Golda Meir Statue at Broadway and 39th Street; Gertrude Stein Statue can be seen in Bryant Park since 1992, and a statue of Harriet Tubman is at St. Nicholas Avenue and West 122nd.

If one chooses to visit those places and statues using the service of the city’s famous yellow cabs, it would be pretty rare that the driver will be a woman, since only 1% are female.

To that list of mentioning female representations around the city, also the Statue of Liberty should be added. It has arrived in the city as a gift from the French government in 1886. On the unveiling of the statue, the suffragists protested and said that it is sarcastic that a figure of a woman is expressing freedom while the women of NY are not free and do not have the right to vote.

Besides the five sculptures of real women, there are three more memorial fountains:
– Loeb Memorial Fountain, which commemorates newspaperwoman and social worker Sophie Irene Loeb (1876-1929), who was the founder and first president of the Child Welfare Board of New York City.
– Charlotte Wilbour and the Woman’s Health Protective Association, a marble stele, and drinking fountain.
– Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain.
Also, there are around 1,700 parks in NYC, less than 5% of them (74 parks) are named in honor of a woman. You can find a full list at this link.

We invite you to search through our map to see the information we gathered about the legacy of women in the area you are wandering. Click here to learn about some of the women who left a mark on NYC history.

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