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Time to pay tribute to our female trailblazers.

Byline: Neil Elkes Local Government Correspondent neil.elkes@trinitymirror.com

IT is almost 100 years since women were first allowed to vote in Britain - and now Birmingham is preparing to celebrate the centenary.

On February 6, 1918, the Representation of the People Act was passed, giving women over 30 the vote. It was ten years later that full voting equality with men was established.

But while we take the universal vote for granted, women remain under-represented, not least in our city's great heritage.

Far fewer monuments, buildings, schools and streets are named after inspirational women than men.

Birmingham has seen dozens of statues put up in memory of great men - among them Joseph Priestly, James Watt, Matthew Boulton, Lord Nelson, King Edward VII, Josiah Mason, William McGregor - all great leaders in their day. Yet the only statue of a woman in the city is currently Queen Victoria, > Cllr unless of course the Real Birmingham Family statue ever reemerges after it was put into storage last May for work to redevelop Centenary Square.

And even the city's famous Walk of Stars, in Broad Street, shows a dispiriting bias towards men.

So now city bosses want to compile a list of notable Birmingham women to both inspire the young and perhaps give future developers a few ideas when they are creating streets, buildings and statues.

Deputy leader of Birmingham City Council, Councillor Brigid Jones, said: "This year is a very important one for women, as we celebrate the Suffragettes' efforts in winning women the right to vote and keep alive their fight for equality. We recognise some of the city's famous women, such as Ellen Pinsent, who became Birmingham's first female councillor in 1911, but there are so many more who deserve to take up their rightful places in the history books.

"We want to hear your stories of inspirational Brummie women.

"These could be memories your gran shared, tales from your family tree or amazing but unsung achievements. We want to hear about the ordinary women who have done extraordinary things."

The call follows that of Chris Game, a University of Birmingham Local Government Studies lecturer and Post columnist, in an article in these pages last year. Last year he revealed the stark disparity between the number of real women depicted in statues form compared to men across the city.

Jones He wrote: "By my count, Roma and Emma Jones, the two A Real Birmingham Family sisters depicted with their two - or two and a half - children, could well be the only two 'real' non-royal women to be found among Birmingham's outdoor sculptures. "It represents a pretty sad state of affairs and I am always slightly embarrassed by my own workplace, the University of Birmingham's Edgbaston campus, being a prime contributor. The university does possess a striking work by one of Britain's greatest sculptors, Sir Jacob Epstein - a portrait bust of obstetrics professor and medical pioneer Dame Hilda Lloyd. But, unfortunately, like a character in a Bronte novel, she's mostly kept indoors in the medical school, accessible only by prior appointment."

He added: "It's time, surely, for Birmingham to break through our own bronze ceiling?"

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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 1, 2018
Words:530
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