The majority of female statues that I see are in formal gardens and they’re semi-naked. All long hair, alabaster bosoms and pert bottoms. Supposedly it was about the recreation of the Greek landscape of antiquity, but you only have to read about what happened to the first statue of a female nude, Aphrodite of Knidos to realise that it wasn’t all about inspiring strength, love, victory and compassion in the viewer.
It’s not just statuary, women have been absent from recorded history for too long. Sure, there are the occasional ones that get mentioned like Joan of Arc, Catherine the Great or Elizabeth the 1st, but in comparison to male figures it’s a drop in the ocean. Despite accounting for 50% of the population, we only occupy around 0.5% of recorded history. Nor are we sufficiently present in current key roles and debates; for seventy years after we had the vote in the UK, we still only made up 5% MPs in the House of Commons  only recently breaking through the 30% barrier.
Even in other spheres of work, women still hold fewer senior positions than men and are listened to less often than their male counterparts. When we do speak up, we are the ones who get most trolled on social media, most often by men. I suppose we should be grateful that the scold’s bridle went out of use, though the carnival of shaming and threatening women who dare to lead others would be recognised all too well by 17th century people. All of which makes me reflect on the little mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen. In the original tale, despite being warned, the little sea-maid willingly cuts out her tongue believing that her ‘long thick hair and gliding gait’ would be sufficient to win the Prince’s heart. It doesn’t work. She is treated like a pet and a doll.