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Everyone’s angry about… blue plaques

By
Kate Lloyd
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Blue plaque, eh? Sounds like somebody needs to go to the dentist.

Not quite. While oral hygiene is a vital part of a healthy London lifestyle – remember to floss, guys – we’re actually talking about those little round signs that English Heritage put up around the UK to commemorate the important people who’ve lived here. They were launched 150 years ago and are a bit like a posh version of scratching ‘Shakespeare woz ere’ into a tree.

Those plaques seem like nice gestures. Why would anyone be angry about them?

Only 13 percent of the memorials in London are dedicated to women, which seems pretty damn sexist. English Heritage says this misbalance is because the public nominate the people they think deserve a plaque and, according to a survey, 40 percent of people think women had less of an impact on history than men. Hmm.

How are they planning to sort this out?

English Heritage doesn’t want to skew the system by putting forward their own list of female influencers, so all it can really do is encourage the public to nominate more women. As a spokeswoman explains: ‘It will mean that we can assemble a full list of really diverse nominations.’ The organisation is launching a campaign tied into Women’s History Month to push for more female nominations.

Great. Who should I nominate?

Anna Eavis, curatorial director of English Heritage says the questions voters should consider are ‘Is the person a significant figure who made a positive and lasting public impact?', ‘Does the London building where the person lived or worked still stand?’ and ‘Have they been dead for 20 years?’

Here are five other great ways to celebrate International Women's Month.

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