It’s taken 185 years, but soon we will finally be able to cast our eyes across London’s Parliament Square and see a statue of a woman standing there.
Although this is undeniably a great step forward, actor and UN ambassador Emma Watson echoed all of our thoughts with a friendly reminder to the Mayor of London that, y’know, nearly two centuries is quite a long time to wait.
The long-overdue news was announced in April, when Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed that suffragist Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett will be honoured next to 11 other statues of notable historical figures, which, although varied in backgrounds and achievements, are all men.
And though the statue won’t be unveiled until next year, mayor Sadiq Khan took to Twitter to express his delight in unveiling the suffragist exactly a hundred years after women were given the right to vote.
While no doubt supportive of his sentiment, Watson, who has been consistently vocal about her support for the campaign, was quick to reply to Khan’s tweet with a message reminding him of the wait.
Writing, “About time too!”, she echoed the thoughts of many who perhaps feel that while a move in the right direction, there’s not too much to be celebratory about in 185 years of waiting.
The grassy square, located in the historical borough of Westminster, is overlooked by several of London’s most important monuments and buildings, including the Houses of Parliament and the Supreme Court. It has been added to since the first statue was unveiled in May 1832, that of former Prime Minister George Canning. The most recent addition was Mahatma Gandhi in March 2015.
As it is home to figures of such positive significance, for many the space has long been a symbol of diversity and innovation, which of course begs the question: why has it take until 2017 for a woman to be considered?
This was the query feminist activist Caroline Criado-Perez called on Khan to answer, urging him to keep his promise as a “proud feminist”.
Her petition, which was backed by over 74,000 people including high profile feminist celebrities such as author and Twitter legend JK Rowling, was the driving force which eventually secured the creation of the new statue.
Meanwhile, Watson’s tweet provoked a flurry of support from Twitter users who were keen to show their solidarity for her message.
One Twitter user relayed the actor’s statement, and commented on the state of equality in their home of Greece, writing, “Yes. About time. I hope.they put one in Athens too. We have a long way to go to establish gender equality in Greece..”
Another simply said, “Here here!”.
While a third reinforced what a positive step the statue is, tweeting, “Wow, very good news! Another little step in the right direction!”
So far the tweet has been liked more than 8,000 times.
Just as Emma’s wry emoji use suggests, we are beyond happy that Dame Fawcett will be representing women in the square from next year, but let us not forget it’s still 11 to one – which we wouldn’t count as equality quite yet.
Images: Rex Features