Monday, 13 May 2013

When money has a male face

When Winston Churchill was accused of being drunk by Bessie Braddock he is alleged to have replied,  “And you, Bessie, are ugly. But I shall be sober in the morning, and you will still be ugly”.
What a charmer. I bet Bessie wasn’t one of Winston’s greatest fans. Nor, were she still alive, would be Elizabeth Fry. For as the only female historical figure to feature on an English banknote, she has just been bumped off the £5 note by the former PM.

Quick quiz then. Do you know which leading figures feature on the following English bank notes?

1. The £10 note
2. The £20 note
3. The £50 note (old style)
4. The £50 note (new style)

Scroll down for the answers*.

Currently the £5 pound note depicts Elizabeth Fry reading to prisoners in Newgate Prison. From 2016 she will be replaced by Winston Churchill, giving every note a male face.

Feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez has attacked the Bank of England for failing to eliminate gender discrimination under the Equalities act. Her solicitors have written to the Bank threatening court action and they have two weeks in which to respond. It’ll be interesting to see how they wiggle out of this.

Is this further confirmation that the money world is dominated by men? 

Which female figure would you like to see on an English bank note? I'm sure Maggie Thatcher might prove a popular though controversial figure, and I think Blue Peter presenter Valerie Singleton is a strong contender. 

The £10 note shows Charles Darwin, a hummingbird and HMS Beagle
The £20 note has Adam Smith, with an illustration of 'The division of labour in pin manufacturing'
The old style £50 notes feature Sir John Houblon and his house in Threadneedle Street. The new style £50 notes show Matthew Boulton and James Watt, with steam engine and Boulton's Soho.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to the guys who tweeted their responses to this - to Jason for putting forward Emeline Pankhurst, and to Dave for suggesting Dot Cotton from Eastenders!


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