A monumental achievement

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A century after women won the right to vote in New York and Central Park will get its first monument dedicated to real women.


  • U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, center, joined with the Manhattan Borough president, Gale Brewer, third from left, and the Park's Department's commissioner, Mitchell Silver, fourth from right, and Girl Scouts to announce plans for the placement of a monument honoring the suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony in the Central Park Mall. Photo: Sophie Herbut

It took almost 70 years following the Seneca Falls Convention for women to get the right to vote in New York. It took a hundred years after that for there to be a plan for a monument to real women in Central Park.

This week officials announced that a monument of the suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony would be placed in the Mall.

On Monday, the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in New York State, the city parks commissioner, Mitchell Silver, was joined in the Mall by several people who have been instrumental in selecting the spot and raise funds for the monuments.

“It’s about time,” one of those attending the event responded when he announced the plan for the statues.

“Behind me, on the Central Park Mall, in a few years, the Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Woman Suffrage Monument will stand on the sight right behind us,” Silver said.

The Parks Department and The Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund opened call for artists to submit designs for the monument.

Silver drew attention to the fact that there are just four statues of real women in all parks across the city, with three them erected within in the last 20 years. There are none in Central Park.

Parks and Statue Fund officials settled on the Mall because of the traffic and visibility.

“We started about three years ago, discussing this,” said Gale Brewer, the Manhattan Borough president. “And we found different spots in the park that we did not like.”

The speakers all agreed on one thing: the monument will be symbolic for not only how far women’s rights have come, but how much more needs to be achieved.

“The right to vote did not grant equality,” Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. “We are still struggling to be paid equally and be treated respectfully without harassment in the workplace.”

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney said she spent her time in Congress fighting for rights women have already won.

“I’m not surprised that there’s such an anti-woman movement in Congress. Where harassment, up until recently, was treated almost as part of the job,” Maloney said. “Where you reported rape and harassment [and] they never did anything. Now all of a sudden, they’re waking up and they say they’re going to prosecute. Well, let’s see.”

She echoed other speakers in urging women and men to continue fighting for the Equal Rights Amendment.

The great-great-granddaughter of Cady Stanton, Coline Jenkins, who is the vice president with the Statue Fund, said the statue represents a mass movement and the “greatest bloodless revolution.”

She gave Silver a replica of the women’s suffrage flag, a gold-white-purple horizontal tricolor flag with stars for every state that ratified the 19th Amendment, which when adopted in 1920 granted women’s right to vote to all who were U.S. citizens.

Brewer said the monument, would be likenesses of Stanton and Anthony, it also will include the names of women who were a part of the suffragist movement. It is one of the qualifications for the design the artists have to abide.

“I wish I could say the fight is over, but we know it’s not,” Brewer said. “True equality is something we need to fight for.”

The monument is also funded by the Girl Scout’s cookies. Specifically, troops 3484 and 3482.

“If we keep eating thin mints, we can get things done a lot faster,” Hochul said.

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