Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP and Daniel Johnson MSP will today hold a meeting to consider proposals for a statue of renowned Scottish doctor and suffragist, Dr Elsie Inglis, to be placed on the Royal Mile near where she established her first hospital, The Hospice, at 219 High Street.
The proposals from the Dr Elsie Inglis Scottish Women’s Hospitals’ Trust follow similar moves in Westminster to recognise the contribution of suffragist Millicent Fawcett, whose statue is the first to depict a women in Parliament Square and the campaign for a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst which is being unveiled this year in Manchester.
Elsie Inglis was a Scottish surgeon who set up 14 Scottish Women’s hospitals on the front line in WW1.
Edinburgh city centre is already host to more than 43 statues of men, plus statues of a lion, a rhino, two dogs, two giraffes and a bear. There are only two statues of women in Edinburgh at present, one of Queen Victoria and one of a female victim of apartheid.
Next month, on Sunday 10th June, people across the UK will be taking part in marches in Edinburgh, London, Belfast and Cardiff to celebrate 100 years of women having the right to vote.
Alex Cole-Hamilton said:
“2018 is a year for celebrating women’s progress and it’s right that public art in Scotland keeps pace with the rest of the UK in applauding women’s contribution to public life.
“The imbalance in Edinburgh’s statues is staggering. Statues inspire people and there are plenty inspiring Scottish women who are unfairly missing out. Elsie made a huge contribution to the war effort in WW1, to Scottish medicine as a whole and to women’s equality. She ought to be recognised as such.
“The march towards equality continues. It would be apt if it went past an Elsie Inglis statue proudly looking down on the city that benefitted most from her work.
Daniel Johnson said:
“A statue to Elsie Inglis would be a fitting tribute to a great woman whose inspirational work in the First World War and as part of the suffrage movement should be recognised by her home city.
“There are hardly any statues of women in the capital, so it is time we started to put that right. I am delighted to be co-hosting this event, which I hope will bring fresh momentum to the campaign for a statue.”
Ian McFarlane, Founder and Chairman of the Dr Elsie Inglis Scottish Women’s Hospitals’ Trust said:
“This Dr Elsie Inglis-Scottish Women's Hospitals Trust event on Friday 4th May 2018 (1.30pm) at the Scottish Parliament kindly arranged and sponsored by Alex Cole-Hamilton and Daniel Johnson is to allow The Trust to progress to completion by the end of 2019, a Royal Mile monument to Elsie Inglis (1864-1917): Edinburgh's iconic woman surgeon and pioneer of social and war medicine.
“The Friday meeting, which follows the April 2018 unveiling at Westminster London of a monument to the suffragist Millicent Fawcett, The Trust hope, will galvanise Holyrood MSPs and MPs, medical, nursing, educational and other relevant representatives to ensure the necessary support and financial backing for this Scottish monument, in the capital Edinburgh, which is of such fundamental and paramount importance.”