New York, NY – New York
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and the New-York Historical Society’s Center
for Women’s History announced Women’s Voices: Shaping the City, a new
display in City Hall created to honor a diverse and iconic selection of women
whose contributions to New York City history deserve public recognition. The
special installation reflects the New York City Council and Speaker Johnson’s
commitment to addressing the vast gender disparity in public artwork and
monuments around the City. Portraits of eight female figures will be displayed
in City Hall along with biographical information and inspirational quotes that help
define their legacies. Women’s Voices: Shaping the City will be unveiled
at City Hall on Friday, March 1, 2019, at the start of Women’s History Month in
conjunction with the Council’s month-long Herstory celebration.

“As New Yorkers realize that we
as a City have utterly failed to adequately recognize the contributions of
women and try to fix it, this City Council is proud to lead the way in creating
public monuments to our City’s monumental women,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.
“Most New Yorkers agree that the future is female, but the past was female too,
and the entire City needs to do a better job of celebrating that fact and
telling stories that have gone untold for far too long. I am proud beyond words
that Shirley Chisholm, Frances Perkins, and Antonia Pantoja will now grace the
same City Hall walls as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The men we have
memorialized in this building have gone without strong female representation
alongside them for far too long.”

“The New-York Historical Society is
thrilled to partner with the City Council and heartened by Speaker Johnson’s
support of our Center for Women’s History,” said Valerie Paley,
senior vice president, chief historian, and director of the Center
for Women’s History
. “By showcasing our important work on the walls of City
Hall, the City Council reminds all New Yorkers of the vital contributions of
women to the city’s story. The timing of the launch, during Women’s History
Month, couldn’t be more appropriate.”

The New Yorkers featured in Women’s
Voices: Shaping the City

  • Alice Austen, an LGBTQ “amateur” photographer
    whose work is a window into her New York City experience;
  • Antonia Pantoja, Puerto Rican educator and
    community activist;
  • Beverly Sills, Brooklyn-bred opera soprano;
  • Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker
    movement and newspaper;
  • Frances Perkins, the first ever female United
    States cabinet member;
  • Dorothy Lee, a Chinese-American “Rosie the
    Riveter” at the Brooklyn Navy Yard;
  • Shirley Chisholm, the country’s first African-American
    Congresswoman who represented Brooklyn’s Twelfth District for seven terms and
    ran a groundbreaking presidential campaign in 1972;
  • and Zora Neale Hurston, famed writer,
    anthropologist, and fixture of the Harlem Renaissance.

“As Chair of the Committee
on Women, I am delighted and deeply moved that the City Council and New-York
Historical Society have joined forces to honor some of the women who have made
a lasting impact on our city. This special installation is a wonderful start to
our celebration of Women’s History Month, and begins to address the pervasive
absence of women from what is considered “official” history. Beginning in
March, visitors to City Hall will finally be able to learn about some of the
women who changed New York, and the world, for the better,” said
Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Chair of the Committee on Women

“New York City women have played
a huge role in our City’s rich history since the beginning,” said Council
Member Margaret S. Chin, Co-Chair of the Council’s Women’s Caucus
. “It is
time that we recognize leaders like Dorothy Lee who blazed a trail as the only
Chinese American woman working at the Brooklyn Navy Yard during World War II. I
hope everyone will stop by City Hall to visit the Women’s Voices: Shaping
the City
exhibit. I want to thank both the New York Historical Society and
Speaker Johnson for acknowledging that women’s history is New York’s history.”

“With only 11 women in the City
Council and none in citywide office, it’s clear that we need to end the culture
of exclusion that tells women to wait their turn when they aspire to lead. I
want to thank Speaker Corey Johnson for doing his part by recognizing the
incredible accomplishments that New York women have achieved and showing any
young girl who visits City Hall that they too can one day become a talented
artist, an enterprising CEO, or even a member of the New York City Council,” said
New York City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, Co-Chair of the Council’s Women’s

“Public artwork and monuments must be reflective of our city and our history. As Chair of the Cultural Affairs Committee, I am proud that the NYC Council is taking the initiative to improve the gender diversity of public arts in City Hall and to recognize women activists for their vast achievements and contributions to our city,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Chair of the Cultural Affairs Committee.

The New-York Historical Society, one of America’s preeminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research and presenting history and art exhibitions and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered history of New York City and State and the country, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history.

New-York Historical’s Center for Women’s History is the first of its kind in the nation within the walls of a major museum. Its work explores the lives and legacies of women who have shaped and continue to shape the American experience. As a hub for scholarship and education, the Center demonstrates how women across the spectrum of race, class, and sexuality exercised power and effected change. Guided by a committee of distinguished historians and informed by the latest research, the Center features permanent installations, temporary exhibitions, and a vibrant array of talks and programs, enriching the cultural landscape of New York City and creating new opportunities for historical discovery. To learn more, visit