Last month, in the wake of revelations that Elisabeth Fry was to disappear from the nation’s fivers to make way for Sir Winston Churchill, we took stock of how many women (other than old Queenie, of course) currently feature on our bank notes. It was one – with a figure of nil hovering on the horizon.
The decision saw the Bank of England met with strong criticism from feminist campaign group The Women’s Room, with campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez stating that the decision was, ‘another example of women’s considerable achievements being overlooked in favour of the usual (male suspects).’
However, having worked themselves into a miniature crisis (surprisingly not a financial one), the Bank of England have just announced that evolutionist Charles Darwin’s days on the £10 note are numbered. Governor Sir Mervyn King has flagged author Jane Austen as the most likely candidate to replace Darwin, although a final decision has yet to be made.
The £5 note featuring Sir Winston Churchill is set to appear in 2015-16, and if Jane Austen’s selection is confirmed, she would be only the third woman – excluding the Queen – to ever feature on a UK banknote. Sad but true.
Is this a step in the right direction or merely a knee-jerk reaction? Join the discussion at The Women’s Room.