(CNN)Here's an interesting fact: There are only a handful of statues in public spaces around New York City that depict female historical figures. Four are on city-owned property, and one more is in a privately owned public space.
New York City has only a few statues of historic women. This pioneering African American will be the next
Now, there's about to be another.
City officials say they will erect a statue of political pioneer Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to Congress.
Elected to the US House of Representatives from New York in 1968, Chisholm also became the first black candidate to seek a major party's presidential nomination and a co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus. Oh, and she was Brooklyn born and bred.
It's no surprise, then, that she was chosen to be memorialized first as part of a new NYC initiative that aims to add statues of groundbreaking historical women around the city.
She Built NYC is an advisory panel that was officially rolled out in June of this year. According to a release from Mayor Bill DeBlasio's office, She Built is a "new effort to commission a public monument or artwork on City property that honors women's history in New York City."
Jane Meyer, the Deputy Press Secretary for the Mayor's Office, told CNN that the process in choosing the initiative's first statue was powered by the public.
"There was a call for public nominations over the summer," she said. "And we got nearly 2,000 submissions."
From there, the list went to a working group and then to City Hall, where Meyer says the parks department and other city departments weighed in on the logistical possibilities.
Ultimately, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and first lady Chirlane McCray chose between the top vote-getters, which is how Chisholm, who died in 2005, was selected. Her monument will be built in Brooklyn's Prospect Park.
Deputy Mayor Glen, a huge advocate for the project, says historical monuments and statues are a critical way for people to understand the values and history of a city, and indeed, the country.
"The ability to connect to our history happens in a very visual way," she told CNN. "If you don't see it, you may not believe it. And when you walk around the city and only see men, you may start to think that women didn't matter, or perhaps that they didn't do anything."
It's hard to get an accurate tally of how many statues, monuments and plaques around the city are dedicated to men versus women, and Glen says it can be like comparing apples to oranges. Does a plaque count? A relief? What about fictional depictions or anonymous symbolic figures?
Glen offered up a case study: "Central Park is the most visited urban park in the US," she said. "There are 132 statues in Central Park, and only one of them depicts a woman."
That "woman" is Alice from "Alice in Wonderland," who is neither real nor American (author Lewis Carroll was British).
"Let's just put it this way," Glen said, "The overwhelming majority of these monuments, statues and plaques depict men."
The few depictions of women around the city include the Gertrude Stein Monument in Bryant Park, the Harriet Tubman Monument on Malcolm X Blvd and the Eleanor Roosevelt Monument and Joan of Arc Memorial -- both in Riverside Park. A fifth statue, honoring former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir, stands in a privately owned plaza.
Meyer says the new push to add more