No women on British currency

This video is about British currency.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Keep women on our money

Thursday 02 May 2013

No doubt prompted by the posh boys in the Cabinet, Bank of England governor Mervyn King has announced that Winston Churchill will replace social reformer Elizabeth Fry as the face of £5 notes.

This means that, other than the Queen, there will be no women featured on our English bank notes. Perhaps we should thank our lucky stars it wasn’t Maggie. But what a terrible message that all-male line-up on our banknotes will send – particularly to young women trying to make their way in a male world.

It tells them loud and clear that no woman has done anything important enough to be featured on our currency.

What dangerous nonsense. Thousands of women are leading figures in their fields. Thousands more have played key roles in the history of our country. Not just that, but they have done so against the historic odds stacked against them.

This decision by the Bank of England is yet another example of how women’s considerable achievements are so often hidden from history.

It is also another example of how the establishment undervalues the contributions of women in so many fields.

Now with our new Bank of England male-only notes the message that women do not belong in public life, they never have and they never will, will be rammed home every time we spend our hard earned cash.

Caroline Criado-Perez has started an on-line petition. She commented online “It’s yet another example of how the country we live in just doesn’t seem to value women’s contribution. The note being replaced isn’t even the oldest one – that was Darwin – which is why it seems completely unnecessary.”

Even one of the Chancellor’s close aides has intervened to demand that women now be considered for other bank notes. Tory MP Amber Rudd, the Parliamentary Private Secretary to George Osborne, said: “It would be a mistake not to feature women on any bank note.”

There have been 16 historical figures featured on banknotes since the portraits were introduced in 1970 – including only two women, Florence Nightingale who was on the £10 note from 1975 to 1994 and Elizabeth Fry, who was introduced on the £5 note in 2002.

As so often they do things better in Scotland. There are two women pictured on Scottish banknotes today.

The Clydesdale £50 note features Elsie Maud Inglis who, in 1894, built a maternity hospital in Edinburgh for poor women, staffed entirely by women. She also campaigned for votes and rights for women.

The Scottish £20 note has a picture of an anonymous female chemist. A decade after the notes first appeared the press tracked her down. She is Janet Mullen, a mother of three and a chemist still working in the water industry.

Just don’t try to spend either of these Scottish notes in an English pub.

In Frosty’s wallet

Here is Frosty’s short list for women to appear on the notes in his thin wallet. If you have other nominations the letters page would love to hear them.

Jayaben Desai Leader of the strikers in the epic Grunwick dispute in London in 1976.

H Ellen Wilkinson Labour MP. One of Britain’s first women MPs. Founding member of the Communist Party. Marched to London with Jarrow Hunger Marchers.

Rosalind Franklin The unsung hero of DNA, Franklin’s X-ray images of the double helix provided the data that Francis Crick and James Watson used to win their Nobel prize.

Mary Jane Seacole After being turned down by the War Office, the mixed-race, Jamaican-born nurse made her own way to the Crimean front line, where she tended to wounded British soldiers.

Emily Wilding Davidson This militant Suffragette died under the hooves of the King’s Horse in a protest at the Derby exactly 100 years ago.

Doreen Lawrence Mother of Stephen Lawrence, the murdered British teenager who was killed by racists. She is a leading campaigner against racism and injustice.

Britain: Equality campaigners have accused the government of a systematic assault on measures designed to protect women and minorities, amid fears that a key requirement to end discrimination is to be scrapped: here.

New British £10 note will feature Jane Austen: here.

Why Mary Seacole is Still Relevant for Women Today: here.

9 thoughts on “No women on British currency

  1. Pingback: Bank of England’s sexism to women employees | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Two choices for some five pound notable women

    Friday 10 May 2013

    In response to Peter Frost’s proposals for five-pound notable women (M Star May 3), I’d like to suggest Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797).

    Her philosophical works helped not only change the world but did so in the face of strict social limitations imposed upon what women were “allowed” to do at the time. Her takedown of conservative icon Edmund Burke alone is priceless.

    And just because I’ve been reading about her recently, I’ll add Milly Witkop (1877-1955).

    She’s sometimes unfairly overshadowed by her more famous partner Rudolf Rocker, but the Ukrainian-born militant was at least as active as her common-law husband in fomenting the historic tailor’s strike of 1912 which broke the back of sweatshop labour in Britain, and after World War I she led the way bringing women into German trade unionism.

    Simon Saunders


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  5. Creasy rape threat man faces prison

    Hate Speech: A Bristol man faces jail for bombarding Labour MP Stella Creasy with threatening tweets after she joined a successful campaign to put Jane Austen on the £10 note.

    Peter Nunn claimed his threats to rape Ms Creasy, who he branded a “witch,” were merely a joke and he was surprised she was offended.

    But Judge Elizabeth Roscoe found him guilty of sending indecent, obscene or menacing messages.


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  7. Wednesday 4th november 2015

    posted by Morning Star in Britain

    TOO many men feature in a new British passport design that showcases the country’s cultural heritage, MPs said yesterday.

    Only two women — the first compu­ter programmer Ada Lovelace and architect Elisabeth Scott — feature in the designs, which will be phased in from December.

    Labour MP Emily Thornberry tweeted: “Here we go again — new UK #passport has 7 men featured and just 2 women.”

    MP Stella Creasy suggested that women including artist Barbara Hepworth and writers Virginia Woolf and Beatrix Potter should have been included.

    “Instead of being celebrated and remembered, great British women are being airbrushed out of history,” said gender equality group the Fawcett Society chief executive Sam Smethers.

    The Passport Office said: “It wasn’t something where we said: ‘Let’s set out to only have two women’.”


  8. Thursday 5th November 2015

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    by Rebecca Winson

    IT’S heartening to learn that in this time of tightened belts and slashed arts funding, the government can still spend time and money on redesigning British passports as a celebration of our cultural heritage.

    What’s less heartening — what’s absolutely bloody infuriating actually — is that the government reckons only two women are worth including in that celebration.

    When statements like that are made there’s usually a big queue of testicle-bearing pedants clamouring to point out all the holes in them (the statements, not the testicles). Let’s get those niggles out of the way before we go any further.

    One: OK smartarse, there’s more than two women. Apart from Ada Lovelace and Elisabeth Scott, there are three others. But one of them is Queen Victoria’s head on a Penny Black stamp and the other two are an anonymous Shakespearean actress and a dancer.

    Two: Yes there are other problems with who they’ve included. Anish Kapoor is the only person of colour to have their work celebrated apart from two performers squished on a page of “multicultural festivals.”

    Three: This is absolutely worth getting angry about. It’s a small thing in the context of maternity discrimination and the rape conviction rate. But it’s also one of the litany of small things which add up to a culture which allows that big stuff to happen. It’s one of a megaton of straws that broke the camel’s back years ago.

    Make no mistake, this is a straw, a slight, not some meaningless incident unworthy of note. Because the line-up of the great and the good featured in the new design wasn’t the result of some office raffle, it was a deliberate attempt to celebrate the entirety of British culture, and British culture is not overwhelmingly male nor has it ever been.

    I’ve seen people (men) pointing out that women just weren’t that influential before the 20th century and that the passport has to reflect that, but it’s more than that — we were being violently oppressed.

    The women who succeeded in challenging that oppression were oppressed some more, censured and then mostly written out of history. Those who are remembered despite all that are worth more to this country than the bloody Tube map (awarded a whole double page spread all to itself). There are hundreds of them, enough to fill passports 10 times over — Jane Austen, any of the Brontes, Aphra Behn, Mary Wollstonecraft, the Pankhursts. There are still women like that having to fight today.

    So to fail to come up with more than two women to represent feminine contributions to culture and history is ridiculous. It’s only achievable if you don’t value those women to begin with. It’s that which hurts more than the exclusion and it’s clear that that’s what’s really going on here.

    When Mark Thomson, director-general of HM Passport Office, was asked about why there were only two women included, he basically shrugged: “Whenever we do these things there’s someone who wants their favourite rock band or icon.”

    That’s 50 per cent of the population reduced to the status of chart acts. All those who care about them reduced to just “someone,” brushed away like lint off the expensive suit of an overpaid sexist. That attitude, right there, is why women are angry about this, because it’s the same attitude which leads to “there’s no need for this” cuts to domestic violence service, to the “they asked for it” abuse and assault of wives, daughters, mothers and sisters, to the “they don’t deserve it” 20 per cent pay gap between men and women workers.

    Fighting sexism is fighting that attitude. Is the passport design worth caring about? Only if you think women are.


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