One of the benefits of living in this part of the world is the closeness to some of the best coastline in the country. Last week, for the tail end of half term, we had a long weekend down in Lyme Regis.

It was proper half-term weather sunshine, showers and storms. Brave was the tourist who went for a walk along the Cobb: I watched more than one couple get drenched as the waves crashed over the side.

Then on the Sunday morning, just as British Summer Time came to an end, the sun came out. On the beach between Lyme Regis and Charmouth, there was the familiar chink-chink of hammers on rock, and we spent a glorious couple of hours searching for fossils.

The latter part of the year is the best time to search for them, apparently: bad weather equals more erosion and better finds. We ok, my daughters discovered what we thought an impressive haul, though any thoughts of having made our fortune were swiftly put to bed by a visit to the fossil shop back in town.

Just over two hundred years ago, another teenage girl, Mary Anning, was similarly exploring the same stretch of coastline, when she came across something larger: the entire skeleton of an ichthyosaur.

That was worth slightly more: sold on for £23 (£1500 today). More valuable still was her role in proving the existence of prehistoric life.

Not that she got much credit at the time: as a woman, she was never allowed to join the Geographical Society of Britain.

Not that she got that much credit until recently, either. It was another schoolgirl, nine-year-old Evie Swire, who in 2016 asked her mother why there was no statue to mark her achievements. There followed a six-year crowdfunding campaign until this wrong was finally righted with her statue was unveiled in 2022.

Mary Anning is, of course, far from the only female figure whose achievements have long gone unrecognised. A 2018 survey by the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA) revealed that out of 828 statues catalogued, only 174 were of women.

Stripping out nameless female figures (94), those of royals (38) and fictional or mythical women (15), that left just 27 statues across the country of named female figures (and until 2016, not a solitary statue of a non-white woman).

Things have got marginally better since then, but not by very much.

It's an attitude about as stone age as the rocks that Mary Anning was finding her fossils in (apologies to any geologists for that historically inaccurate punchline). Hopefully the next and future generations of female fossil hunters and high achievers will have their work more readily and widely celebrated.