'There are more statues of animals in Edinburgh than there are of women'.
My friend Sara hit me with that sentence earlier this year. Hearing it, I stopped in my tracks a third of the way up The Royal Mile. A world centring men seemed to draw its walls higher again. Women, so centred in my life, so indisputably dominant in my experiences, ignored again by what our society chooses to idolise and hold aloft in memoriam of humanity.
A thought itched and irritated for weeks. Where were we in our cultural legacy footnotes?
Not on plinths, that's for sure.
A few months afterwards I was dropping my friend Deb off at the Waverley Station side entrance on Market Street. For the third time, Deb asked me who the statue of a white guy was outside the Scottish Government offices, just along the road. Admitting I still didn't know, I resolved to find out for both of us that day.
I found out he was everyone and no-one at all. He was 'everyman'. A representation of Scotland's people as a reminder of who government serves.
At the time he was commissioned there were more women in Scotland than men. The same fact applied on the day I did my research, too.
I fed the data back to Deb.
'Where are we?', I asked, hoping she had the answer this time. Our silence followed.
We'll have to do better than bronze casting dogs and men if we mean to move forward and see positive change in the world.
The Grantidote centres women - their lives, their faces and places, their enormous impact on the world and their stories, as seen by those who live with them or remember them.
The Grantidote is an intervention to what passes for normal and welcomes contributions about every kind of woman, whether or not they had children or grandchildren.
The Grantidote is common ground to rest awhile and reflect in. I know how much hearing other women's stories has reassured me that living a life that matters does actually matter. Society's moved forward a lot in some areas but we still mostly live within structures centring men as default humans, prioritising their relevance above women's in subtle and overt ways. At it's most basic, the world is a safer place for men than women. Unsurprisingly, the UN nutshells it better than me;
'In all societies, to varying degrees, women and girls are subjected to physical, sexual and psychological abuse that cuts across lines of income, class and culture. Such violence is recognised as a violation of human rights and a form of discrimination against women, reflecting the pervasive imbalance of power between women and men.'
I believe we need to challenge the status quo by promoting women's experiences in how we collaboratively organise and inspire ourselves.
Who knows? Maybe The Grantidote will help campaigners working to achieve more statues of women? For now, I'm in no doubt it'll lead to greater love and social empathy. Both approaches feel important for progress.
Now. Which woman's story will you tell?