A group of campaigners have today revealed plans to locate a statue of female surfing trailblazer Pauline Menczer in Bondi, in recognition of her achievement as the only surfer (female or male) from Bondi to take home a World Title.
An unsung hero of the Australian sporting community and the only surfer from Bondi to win a World Title, Menczer paved the path for future generations, championing equality in surfing and leading the way for female surfers dominating the Championships today. Her story captured hearts around the world in 2021 through surfing documentary, Girls Can’t Surf, which highlighted the injustice of Menczer not receiving prize money after winning the 1993 World Title. Things quickly changed, with supporters from around the world chipping in to raise tens of thousands to finally gift Pauline her prize money.
Launching today, the ‘Pauline In Bronze’ GoFundMe campaign aims to raise $150,000 and has already drawn support of Waverley Council. The Mayor of Waverley, Councillor Paula Masselos has notably supported the campaign: “Pauline Menczer was one of a trailblazing generation of female surfers and her story is shortly to feature in Waverley Council’s new Bondi Story Room. Bondi Story Room is an immersive, interactive, digital exhibition and archive that celebrates and shares the rich history of Bondi, opening in tandem with the redeveloped Bondi Pavilion. We look forward to working with the filmmakers to further explore options for a statue of Pauline at Bondi Beach as a fitting acknowledgment of her singular achievement.”
Research has highlighted how few women have been ‘awarded’ statues in Australia. According to campaign organisers’ findings, the country has no statues of women in Canberra, more statues of giant fruit in Australia than of women and of the three per cent of monuments of women, the majority are of Queen Victoria.
Organisers hope Menczer’s everlasting statue overlooking Bondi’s iconic beach will not only help to rectify those worryingly low numbers but also increase representation of women in Australia and inspire the next generation of changemakers to create a better, more equal future for women and girls in sport.
“Bondi is where Pauline learnt to surf; at a time when she was often the only female ‘grommet’ in the line-up,” said Girls Can’t Surf producer and campaign organiser Michaela Perske. “Undeterred by the hostility she often encountered there were a few locals who saw the champion in the making and encouraged her to stick at it. If the sexism and the machismo wasn’t enough, an early age Pauline was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis – a condition that causes chronic pain. Despite this Pauline persevered, won the World Amateur Titles in 1988 and went on to win the ASP World Championship in 1993. It’s time to honour Pauline and her legacy with a permanent statue to acknowledge her legacy and inspire the next generation of young women to follow their dreams.”
For more information or to support the fundraiser visit GoFundMe.com/PaulineInBronze.
Volvo Ocean Lovers Festival and The Hidden Sea wines kicked off the fundraising today with a $1,000 donation. Sydney locals can join Volvo Ocean Lovers Festival for a special Q&A screening of the award-winning documentary Girls Can’t Surf with Pauline Menczer this Saturday 12th March at 7:00pm at Bondi Park North. Turn up early to secure you spot for the free outdoor screening. Visit www.oceanloversfestival.com.