Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Netflix has done it again and this time it’s not with a TV show or movie but statues. For far too long the world has celebrated renowned men and sadly overlooked the women who stood beside them and often outshone their famous siblings. Now, a small victory for the women who should have been honored was won thanks to Netflix.
Statues of overlooked sisters of famous men now stand beside their brothers in the glory they deserved to have decades and centuries ago. It’s not much, but it’s one more step towards equality and recognition. I’m hoping there will be more statues like these, but until then, here are the ones that were recently placed around the UK that just recently went up. Let’s go visit these and pay tribute to these overlooked, talented women.
Brother: Charles Dickens
Statue Location: Guildhall Square in Portsmouth, England.
Accomplishments: Frances Dickens was the oldest of 8 children and was gifted in singing and playing the piano. The family could not afford fees to educate all of their children, however they chose to prioritize the education of Frances which was extremely unusual for the time. Fanny attended the Royal Academy of Music and studied under a former pupil of Beethoven. She went on to compete in competitions, taking home several prizes. Unfortunately, after getting married and becoming a mother, her career declined.
Princess Helena Victoria
Brother: King Edward VII
Statue Location: Birmingham, UK
Accomplishments: When most people discuss history in England, they stick to the monarchy, especially those who ruled and not as much their siblings. Princess Helena Victoria did a great many things that deserve to be touted in history books. She was a founding member of the British Red Cross and President of the Royal British Nurses Association. Helena Victoria dedicated her life to improving the lives of healthcare workers, fighting for better working conditions, rights, and pay for those in the industry.
Princess Helena Victoria spent most of her life heavily involved in charitable work. During World War I she founded the YWCA Women’s Auxiliary Force where she arranged entertainment for troops. During a time where women’s rights weren’t seen as a priority, she proved that women could accomplish a great many things that improved the lives of thousands.
Brother: Thomas Hardy
Statue Location: Dorchester, Dorset, UK
Accomplishments: Most people have never heard of Mary Hardy who was eclipsed by her famous poet brother. Mary is another sister who went against the odds, especially for women of her time. Mary attended higher education and spent several years as a teacher. Her claim to fame came with her appointment as the Headmistress of Piddlehinton Village School. Such an esteemed position was not typically open to women, however she clearly earned her position and gained the respect of her community and beyond.
Maria Anna Mozart
A statue of Maria Anna Mozart, “a gifted harpsichord and fortepiano player who toured Vienna and Paris,” is also on display near a statue of her brother Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Bath.When playing alongside Wolfgang as a child prodigy, Maria would often receive top billing but as she grew older, cultural pressures made it impossible for her to continue her career,” said Netflix.
Brother: Wolfgang Mozart
Statue Location: Bath, England
Accomplishments: It was clear from an extremely young age that the Mozart children were talented musicians. While Wolfgang rose to fame and infamy over the centuries, his sister was mostly forgotten due to the time’s societal norms. From the age of seven, Maria Anna toured with her father and brother around Europe where she played the harpsichord and pianoforte. There were even times when her named appeared first on the bill, showing her phenomenal talent that may have exceeded her brother’s. Since women of the time were restricted to few, if any, professions, she was no longer allowed to tour and achieve her true potential.
Bonus: Enola Holmes
Brother: Fictional character Sherlock Holmes
Statue Location: Marylebone Road in London, England near the Baker St. tube station.
Accomplishments: As the youngest sibling of the Holmes family, most have never heard of this character even though Sherlock and Mycroft are household names. Enola Holmes is a woman ahead of her time who defies the gender norms of her time and is bursting with wit, determination, intelligence, and a wide variety of skills almost no other women of the time possessed. Jujitsu, chess, code breaking, bike riding, critical thinking skills, independence, and, of course, spy craft. Sherlock is seen as a character that has no match, but Enola Holmes has the potential to surpass him.