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Great humanist women should be recognised with blue plaques, says Humanists UK

Mary Wollstonecraft by John Opie

Humanists UK has responded to the London Assembly’s consultation to nominate 100 women for Blue Plaques,  recommending four women including Aphra Behn, Barbara Wootton, Dora Russell, and Mary Wollstonecraft.

Currently just 14% of English Heritage’s 943 blue plaques in London commemorate women. The London Assembly sought nominations of female Londoners who are deserving of a blue plaque in a bid to start correcting this inequity.

Humanists UK put forward the following women to be recognised with blue plaques:

  • Aphra Behn (1640-1689) – playwright, poet, and novelist, who expressed broadly humanist ideas by making clear distinctions between morality and religion
  • Barbara Wootton (1897-1988), Baroness Wootton of Abinger – sociologist, criminologist, and first female life peer, who was a Vice President of Humanists UK
  • Dora Russell (1894-1986) – feminist, humanist, campaigner, and author, who helped to pass the 1967 Abortion Act
  • Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) – feminist, writer, and philosopher, who championed education for girls as well as boys and wrote the first book to put forward feminist arguments – A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.

Humanists UK Public Affairs Manager Karen Wright said:

‘For too long women’s great contribution in history has been overlooked, and we are pleased to put forward four brilliant humanist women who deserve to be recognised with blue plaques.

‘We hope that our proposals are successful so that these remarkable women are recognised for the legacy of their work on the streets of London for all to see and learn from.’


For more information, contact Humanists UK Press Manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at or phone 020 7324 3078.

See our full consultation response here:

At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, we strive to create a fair and equal society for all.

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