Keeping women on English banknotes: The campaign
I’m someone who spends a fair amount of time thinking and writing about personal finance, but this week I’ve been looking at the money itself, more specifically banknotes. In spite of the enormous contribution women make to the British economy as a whole, we’ll soon have no famous and inspiring female faces on our banknotes (no, the monarch doesn’t count, that’s birthright stuff you can’t get by merit).
The Women’s Room’s campaign and other complaints to the Bank of England have been met with what many consider to be very unsatisfactory replies. That’s the polite version. We have many amazing female historical figures in the UK, so if you don’t like the idea of all-male bank notes, you can sign the Women’s Room petition by following the link above and register your displeasure. You can also follow the #banknotes hashtag on Twitter to keep up with the news.
As part of this awareness-raising, I’ve been tagged by Eva from Nixdminx and challenged to come up with some ideas for women who should be celebrated on our banknotes. There are plenty of women alive now who I’d like to see honoured on notes, including Nobel Prize winners such as Doris Lessing, but I’ve decided to go with posthumous celebrations of:
- Aphra Benn, the Restoration dramatist and first professional English female writer (who didn’t write under a male pseudonym)
- Anita Roddick, business founder (The Body Shop) and campaigner
- Marie Stopes, family planning and rights pioneer
- The Bronte sisters, authors – COME ON MERVYN, 3 FOR THE PRICE OF ONE. WOULD GET LOADS OF ANGRY FEMINISTS OFF YOUR CASE. BARGAIN!
- Jane Austen, internationally renowned author whose works are still widely read
Seriously, why on earth hasn’t Jane Austen been on a banknote already? It would hardly be controversial and I gather there has been a considerable amount of support for this nomination in recent years.
So, in the spirit of being controversial, I see your girly-girl Jane Austen, and raise you the more commercially successful bestselling crime writer, Agatha Christie.
What do you think about that? Do you have a better idea? Don’t forget to sign the petition.
I’m tagging @TheHighTeaCast (Sam, Lea or anyone else who’d like to join in) and any other bloggers who’re reading this – tag yourselves and write your own posts, pass it on.
Of course more women should be represented in public fora and the bank note is a good example.But are you surprised? How many women have any real power within the banking industry?
It is and always has been a boys’ club.
Good work and keep up the campaign!
Hi Cecilia, and thanks for your comment. I think it would be a good opportunity to partly change public opinion about how bankers think and act, and how they consider/respect the public.
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