A memorial to the “mother of feminism” is to be unveiled in north London, after a 10-year campaign.
The sculpture for Mary Wollstonecraft by artist Maggi Hambling CBE will go on display on Newington Green, Islington, from Tuesday.
Born in London in 1759, Wollstonecraft was an 18th Century author and radical who promoted the rights of women.
The silvered-bronze sculpture has drawn criticism from some who have queried the inclusion of a naked female figure.
Bee Rowlatt, chair of the Mary on the Green campaign for a statue, said: “Her ideas changed the world. It took courage to fight for human rights and education for all.
“But following her early death in childbirth her legacy was buried, in a sustained misogynistic attack. Today we are finally putting this injustice to rights.
“It’s not your average memorial statue at all.
“It’s not of her, it’s for her, and the statue draws you in. I hope it sparks a conversation about Wollstonecraft and her extraordinary life.”
The unveiling, which will be live-streamed at 19:00 GMT, will be the culmination of a decade of campaigning to raise the £143,000 required to create the statue.
It portrays a silver female figure emerging from a swirling mingle of female forms.
More than 90% of London’s monuments celebrate men, compared to a population of 51% women, according to the campaign.
However, it has been met with criticism for its symbolic depiction of a female figure, rather than being a lifelike representation of Wollstonecraft.
Some have also queried the decision to make the figure naked.
Writer Tracy King tweeted: “There is no reason to depict Mary naked unless you are trying to be edgy to provoke debate.
“Statues of named men get to be clothed because the focus is on their work and achievements.
“Meanwhile, women walking or jogging through parks experience high rates of sexual harassment because our bodies are considered public property.”
Author Caroline Criado Perez, who campaigned for Jane Austen to appear on the £10 note, said the statue “feels disrespectful to Wollstonecraft herself”.
Wollstonecraft was born into prosperity in 1759, but her father, a drunk, squandered the family money.
Like her mother, she often suffered abuse at his hands.
As a woman, Wollstonecraft received little formal education but she set out to educate herself and at 25 opened a girls’ boarding school on Newington Green, near the site of the statue.
Wollstonecraft was 33 when she wrote her most famous work “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” which imagined a social order where women were the equals of men.
She mixed with the intellectual radicals of the day – debating with Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine and Joseph Priestley.
She died aged 38 following the birth of her daughter, the author Mary Shelley.
Ms Hambling said: “This sculpture encourages a visual conversation with the obstacles Ms Wollstonecraft overcame, the ideals she strived for, and what she made happen.
“Clothes define people and restrict people, they restrict people’s reaction. She’s naked and she’s every woman.
“It’s been compared to a rocket of hope going up to the sky, tracking the fight for female empowerment Wollstonecraft started.”
The Suffolk-based artist says Wollstonecraft would be “dancing a foxtrot in her grave” to celebrate Kamala Harris becoming the first female US vice president.
The Mary on the Green campaign has been supported by TV presenter Anita Rani who lives near the site of the statue.
Ms Rani said: “She was someone who just never gave up, she always fought for others, she was a badass – and it cost her.”