Modified: July 19, 2018 11:24am

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The Erie County Commission on the Status of Women (“ECCSW”) and the Monumental Women of WNY Committee have announced a new program to highlight the achievements of Western New York women. Monumental Women of WNY will recognize trailblazing women of WNY through the placement of a series of public monuments and plaques that will highlight the “hidden history” of women in our public life and help to raise awareness of the many contributions that women have made to our region. In Buffalo, there are 106 public statues of which 2 are of women, while of the 5,193 public statues across the United States only 394 are of women. 


“Statues and monuments that celebrate the achievements of men are commonplace, so much so that the absence of such monuments to women is conspicuous and concerning. Women have played integral roles in the shaping of our country and community in politics, business, education and many more areas,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “This project is a breath of fresh air and will be a welcome addition to our public spaces, celebrating the accomplishments of women here in Erie County and recognizing that their successes have helped build our region.”


“WNY is home to a rich legacy of trailblazing women who have made immeasurable contributions to our community but for the most part have gone unrecognized for their efforts.  It's time to unearth this hidden history and share this legacy with our entire community,” said Karen King, Executive Director of the Commission on the Status of Women. “We are hoping to have the first three monuments completed by 2020 to mark the 100th anniversary of the women’s suffrage movement, and we invite the public to be a part of this exciting project as well.”


Three monuments are planned for the inaugural round of the project. The first recognizes Louise Bethune, the first professional woman architect in the United States. Bethune practiced from 1881-1913 and includes the Lafayette Hotel among her significant and enduring architectural achievements. She was also a founding member of the Buffalo Women’s Wheel and Athletic Club. The second monument will recognize civil rights leader Mary Talbert, a founder of the Niagara Movement which was a precursor to today’s NAACP. A staunch and tireless advocate for civil and women’s rights, Talbert served as a member of the Women’s Committee of National Defense in World War I and was appointed to the Women’s Committee on International Relations following the war.  The Erie County Commission on the Status of Women is seeking public input on the third monument, soliciting the public’s ideas on which monumental woman should be recognized and celebrated to complete the first round of monuments.  



For more information:


On the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women, visit  


On Monumental Women of WNY, visit 




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