British Columbia

Vancouver's new statue-less statue aims to honour overlooked women

A statue-less statue is making an appearance in downtown Vancouver to highlight the lack of public monuments honouring women and girls.

YWCA Metro Vancouver estimates that just 12% of permanent public statues depict women or girls

Joleen Mitton of the All My Relations basketball team poses on top of 'Reserved for Her,' an empty statue base exhibited by the YWCA in Vancouver as a statement about the lack of monuments in Canada that honour women. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

A statue-less statue is making an appearance in downtown Vancouver to highlight the lack of public monuments honouring women and girls.

The empty statue base was unveiled by YWCA staff at Canada Place on Monday, ahead of International Women's Day.

Titled Reserved for Her, it's meant to highlight that just 12 per cent of permanent public statues in Canada depict women, while 65 per cent honour men, according to the YWCA's estimates.

"We know that especially Indigenous women, Black women, racialized women, they're depicted in almost no statues across Canada," said Amy Juschka, director of communications and advocacy for YWCA Metro Vancouver.

The piece will be on display until the end of March, and Juschka said she encourages women and girls to drop by, stand up and be recognized.

Joleen Mitton, founder of Indigenous Fashion Week and the All My Relations basketball team, was on hand Monday for the unveiling, and described it as "a beautiful idea" to highlight women's contributions.

"It would be nice to get an Indigenous woman on a statue at some point," she said.

"We took down Gassy Jack just a couple of weeks ago, so it just goes to show you that we're moving in a different direction here in Vancouver."

In February, the statue of Gastown bar owner John Deighton was torn down by participants in the annual Women's Memorial March over concerns about his treatment of Indigenous women, including his marriage to a 12-year-old Squamish girl.

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