This story has been raging in England for a few weeks, ever since the Bank of England announced that Winston Churchill will appear on a banknote in 2015. The uproar isn't about Churchill, but the fact the with the change there would be no images of women on banknotes.
Jane Austen could be the face of the new £10 note, according to the retiring governor of the Bank of England.
The author is "quietly waiting in the wings", Sir Mervyn King told the Treasury select committee, although a final decision will be taken by his successor, Mark Carney, who takes up the post on 1 July.
King provoked a storm of protest when he announced that the only woman to appear on an English banknote other than the Queen – the prison reformer Elizabeth Fry – would be replaced by Winston Churchill in 2015. Campaigners have threatened to take the Bank to court for discrimination under the 2010 Equality Act.
Historical figures were first introduced on British banknotes in 1970, since when there have been only two women: Fry and Florence Nightingale. The others have all been men, from William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens to composer Sir Edward Elgar and scientist Michael Faraday.
Caroline Criado-Perez, who is organising the legal action against the Bank, said she would not be "placated" by King's remarks. "He is still talking in conditionals and I am afraid that is just not good enough. It is not good enough in terms of the demands of the campaign and it is also not good enough according to the Equality Act … which, as we have been saying all along, is about needing to know that the decision-making process is fair and equitable."
More than 29,000 people, have signed a petition to keep women on English banknotes, damning Fry's relegation as "yet another example of how the establishment undervalues the contributions of women to history".
Churchill, who King has described as "a truly great British leader, orator and writer", will make his debut on the £5 note as planned from 2015. King added that once the Churchill notes are in circulation, Fry will continue to appear on the old £5 notes until they are phased out.
"Let me assure that there is no imminent demise of Elizabeth Fry on our banknotes and I think it is extremely unlikely that we will ever find ourselves with no women on our banknotes," King said.
To read the complete article, see:
Jane Austen could grace £10 banknotes, Mervyn King says
Wayne Homren, Editor
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