By June 18, 2013 Read More →

Keep a woman on English banknotes

Banknotes petition

Keep a woman on English banknotesThree quarters of my readers are women. Busy, capable women who are mainly freelancers or running a small business, building a reputation and making a living, all while running households, looking after children and elderly relatives, and doing their bit in the community.

The kind of women who work with men as suppliers, clients, associates and competitors and probably don’t give a thought to their ability to do so, or much thought generally to the issue of equality.

Both you and your male colleagues might be astonished to hear that the Bank of England has decided to replace Elizabeth Fry with Winston Churchill on £5 notes, so that the Queen will be the only woman represented on our banknotes.

The men on the banknotes – Charles Darwin, Adam Smith, Matthew Boulton and James Watt – are there because of their achievements, so what does the absence of a woman say? That women have made little or no contribution to British society?

Caroline Criado-Perez decided to fight the Bank’s decision and almost 29,000 people have signed her petition so far. Her suggestions for suitable replacements for Elizabeth Fry are Mary Wollstonecraft, eighteenth-century writer, philosopher, and advocate of women’s rights, Mary Seacole, who cared for British soldiers during the Crimean war, or Rosalind Franklin, whose work led to the discovery of DNA.

Another great suggestion is Marie Stopes, the birth control pioneer whose work made family planning acceptable and freed women from constant pregnancy.

Do you have a British heroine you think deserves to be celebrated on our banknotes? What do you think about only giving such recognition to men?

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