Madam Speaker, I rise today to present a petition from Jasiri Australia regarding statues of women in the territory. I have spoken previously in this place about the lack of representation of historical women in the territory in comparison to historical men. This petition was started by a group of young women from Jasiri Australia who are deeply committed to advancing the opportunities for and representation of women in politics.
You cant be what you cant see madam speaker. As I have noted previously, the ratio of men to women represented in public art in the Territory is 1 to 10. For the 11 representations of historical or political figures in our public art, only 1 is of a women.
There are 30 gendered sculptures listed on the ArtsACT website. 16 men, 11 women. When one looks at this breakdown, it isn’t quite so stark. However, 10 out of the 11 representations of women are abstract, including representing shopping; being a sister; dreaming in the nude; separation; being a mythical serpent queen; civic pride; whimsy; naivety; driving; stepping out of the house and celebrating play. Of the representations of men, 10 are historical figures, 6 are abstract. The abstract sculptures represent: being a father; being a son; flying too close to the sun; separation; being a cadet; being a soccer player and finally: being large and small at the same time.
The difference in representation is glaringly obvious. As such, I agreed to support the petition started by Jasiri Australia. Additionally I have written to the Chief Minister about the issue, with my letter being referred to the Minister for the Arts. The Minister has let me know that she has asked ArtsACT to review the ACT Public art guidelines to figure out the most effective way to embed inclusion and diversity considerations in the artist commissioning process in the ACT. I thank the Minister for her response and I look forward to hearing about the findings.
I am glad to be able to present this petition to the assembly today and I commend Jasiri Australia for setting it up. I move that the petition be noted.