Monumental Welsh Women is a not for profit organisation dedicated to recognising the contribution of women to the history and life of Wales. Until September 2021, there were no statues of real Welsh women in Wales -not one! We are working to change this. Our mission is to erect 5 statues honouring 5 Welsh women in 5 different location s around Wales in 5 years. It's a huge challenge. So far, we have commissioned and unveiled two statues - of Betty Campbell in Cardiff and Elaine Morgan in Mountain Ash. We have three more in the pipeline.
In 2016, a group of women working in Cardiff got together to do something about the fact that there is not one single statue in the whole of Wales of a ‘real’ Welsh woman. Despite the amazing contribution of Welsh women to life in Wales, their achievements have not been celebrated in the way that men’s successes often have – by being immortalised, commemorated and celebrated with public statues.
At that first meeting, Monumental Welsh Women was born, with the initial intention of trying to get just one statue of a historical woman erected in Cardiff. At the time, Cardiff was undergoing a dramatic redevelopment around the old bus station. We persuaded Cardiff Council that the area around the new Central Square would be the perfect place for a statue. But not just any statue – the first statue of a historical Welsh woman, an artwork that would be world class, and a city landmark that everyone who visited Cardiff would want their ‘selfie’ in front of.
The next challenge was how to choose the woman to be celebrated. We worked with Women’s Equality Network Wales to draw up a list of 100 Welsh women to celebrate the centenary of women getting the vote in 1918 – 50 contemporary women and 50 historical women, all of whom were celebrated at an event in the Senedd in 2018.
From that list of 50 historical women, we worked with a panel of experts to shortlist 5 women who we thought best illustrated the breadth and depth of the achievements of Welsh women over the centuries. And then, working with the BBC, we put those 5 women to a public vote. The BBC produced and broadcast a series of short films on the lives of the 5 women and asked the public to choose their favourite. The winner was announced in January 2019.
But we then decided that one statue was simply not enough. The public response to the vote was fantastic and many people called for all 5 women to be commemorated. And so we have set ourselves a challenge: to erect 5 statues commemorating the 5 amazing Welsh women on the shortlist, in 5 locations around Wales in just 5 years. Follow our progress here
We would love to hear from you and have lots of ways in which you can get involved.
Our first priority is to raise the money we need to complete our mission. Each statue will be different but each will probably cost at least £75,000. We are delighted to say that we have received £100,000 towards the cost of the statues from Welsh Government as part of its programme to commemorate the centenary of some women getting the vote. We have also received a number of significant contributions towards the Betty Campbell statue. But we need a lot more. Please donate what you can to help us to achieve our goal. Or help us to organise fund raising events.
We are also looking for people to help us with each statue project. We want each statue to be owned and welcomed by the community where it will be situated. For example, the statue of Lady Rhondda is being coordinated, managed and inspired by a group of women in Newport who have long wanted to commemorate her great achievements and her connections with the city. Their twitter feed is @statue4LadyRhondda. We are looking for people who can help with the statue for Elizabeth Andrews in the Rhondda. You don’t have to live there – just love our hidden heroine and want to see her commemorated.
To donate: click here
To get in touch: call or email Helen Molyneux