Londoners urged to nominate 100 Blue Plaque women
- Only 14 per cent of the capital’s Blue Plaques honour women.
- Of the 943 Blue Plaques - only 132 recognise the achievements of women.
Today is the 100th anniversary of the 1918 General Election, when women first voted.
To mark the importance of that event, the London Assembly launched a campaign today to redress the gender balance of London’s Blue Plaques.
Assembly Members are urging Londoners to suggest 100 names of women who deserve the recognition of a Blue Plaque.
Women who currently do not have a Blue Plaque include:
- Lady Diana Spencer (campaigner)
- Reina Lawrence (first female councillor elected in London)
- Emily Davison (Suffragette, activist)
To honour the 100-year anniversary of some women getting the vote, the Assembly will present a list of 100 women who deserve the accolade to English Heritage - the purveyors of the Blue Plaque.
The Assembly is also calling on English Heritage to review the archaic rules which govern the scheme to make them fit for purpose. Placing plaques only on surviving buildings is too restrictive in a city which was heavily bombed during World War Two.
Celebrating the relationship between people and place is integral to the scheme, however recognition of the contributions to society by Londoners, should not be frustrated by a lack of bricks and mortar.
Jennette Arnold OBE AM, Deputy Chair of the London Assembly said:
“Iconic Blue Plaques are an important way of recognising the contributions of those who lived in London, but the disparity between men and women is nothing to celebrate.
“We’re calling on Londoners to join us in supporting the work of English Heritage to boost the number of Plaques honouring women, but we’re also calling on for a change in the criteria.
“The rules are not fit for purpose in this day and age and should not stand in the way of recognising people for their contributions. We expect English Heritage to up their game by fast tracking the 100 suggestions.
“Londoners can & should have their say on which women deserve the honour of a Blue Plaque.
The London Assembly is proud of what woman have achieved over the past century & this is a fitting way to mark those achievements.”
Notes to editors
- The Chairman’s letter to English Heritage is attached
- English Heritage has said that 14 per cent of London’s Blue Plaques honour women.
- The criteria used by English Heritage notes that successful nominations should have:
- Made an important positive contribution to human welfare or happiness
- Have made an exceptional impact in terms of public recognition
- Regarded as eminent and distinguished by a majority of members of their own profession or calling
- Have been dead for 20 years
- Have been resident in a building that’s still standing for over 5 years, otherwise other factors will have to be even more compelling
- The London Assembly will be writing to industry bodies and community groups calling for them to nominate women in their field.
- London Assembly website
- As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.
For media enquiries, please contact Alison Bell on 020 7983 4228. For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.