We need women on British banknotes
  • Petitioned Bank of England
  • Responded

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Bank of England
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We need women on British banknotes

    1. Caroline Criado-Perez
    2. Petition by

      Caroline Criado-Perez

      London, United Kingdom

July 2013


We won!  The Bank of England announced that, in response to our campaign, Jane Austen will appear on the new ten pound note  from 2017.  The Bank also announced that it will be instigating a review of the process by which they choose historical figures for our banknotes, with a commitment to ensuring the diversity of society is represented. Bank of England officials told me that their decision today is a direct result of the campaign. We convinced them that what we were saying was right - and that what we were fighting for was important. I started this petition because I couldn’t let another decision that airbrushed women out of history pass without challenge. Now, because 35,000 of us stood up to them, they’ve responded in the best possible way.  Whenever you use a ten pound note and see Jane Austen's picture, you will know that you made that happen.

Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, has announced 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 featuring on our English bank notes. 

An all-male line-up on our banknotes sends out the damaging message that no woman has done anything important enough to appear. This is patently untrue. Not only have numerous women emerged as leading figures in their fields, they have done so against the historic odds stacked against them which denied women a public voice and relegated them to the private sphere - making their emergence into public life all the more impressive and worthy of celebration.

People will perhaps say that the Queen appears on all the notes. But the Queen would be there whatever she achieved - she was born into her position. The men on the banknotes - Charles Darwin, Adam Smith, Matthew Boulton, James Watt, and soon, Winston Churchill - are all there because of what they have done, not because of who their parents were.

This decision by the Bank of England is yet another example of women's considerable achievements being overlooked in favour of the usual (male) suspects - and yet another example of how the establishment undervalues the contributions of women to history - and indeed to the present. The significance of this decision is further underlined by the fact that Darwin is actually our oldest note - by two years. Why isn't he being replaced?

This matters.

It matters because young women growing up see a parliament that is 57th equal in the world when it comes to female representation; a media where only 1 in 5 experts is a woman; and a business world where female directors represent only 16.7% of the total.

Currency, as its name suggests, is fundamental to our daily lives. These notes will change hands every hour, every minute, every second. And every time they do, the message will drive a little deeper home: women do not belong in public life - they never have, and they never will.

We call on the Bank of England to reverse this decision, and not add another straw to the establishment weight on the shoulders of young women telling them that they will amount to nothing - after all, their mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers didn't. Why should they be any different?

Bank of England
Reverse the decision to replace the only woman on English banknotes with a man. This decision perpetuates the damaging myth that women have contributed nothing to history, and adds to the still persistent sense amongst young women that public life is not for them. We recommend Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Seacole or Rosalind Franklin as suitable replacements.

[Your name]

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 30,000 signatures
    2. Fantastic National Geographic piece about women scientists being overlooked

      Caroline Criado-Perez
      Petition Organizer

      Hugely relevant to our campaign - women *have* achieved, we are just continually overlooked http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/13/130519-women-scientists-overlooked-dna-history-science/

      6 Women Scientists Who Were Snubbed Due to Sexism

      These six scientists were snubbed for awards or robbed of credit for discoveries ... because they were women.

    3. We were featured in the Telegraph

      Caroline Criado-Perez
      Petition Organizer
      Meet the woman fighting the Bank of England to keep females on fivers

      Caroline Criado-Perez But that hasn't stopped her in her tracks. "I am definitely going to be turning up at the Bank of England offices along with my petition," she vows. That petition has now attracted nearly 27,000 signatures, and Ms Criado-Perez is now weighing up a fresh legal assault on the Bank.

    4. Some Great Banknote Designs in the Indy Today!

      Caroline Criado-Perez
      Petition Organizer
      Why can't the Bank of England think of a single female to put on its notes?

      When the Bank of England recently announced that the face of the Quaker philanthropist and social reformer Elizabeth Fry is to be removed from our £5 bank note in favour of Winston Churchill, it was met with an outcry. This meant that, other than the Queen, there wouldn't be a single female face on any English bank note.

    5. The Bank of England has asked for an extra week to respond

      Caroline Criado-Perez
      Petition Organizer

      We have granted them this. You can read more about the legal letter here:

      Bank of England under fire for not putting women on notes

      The Bank of England is facing a threat of court action for failing to adhere to equality laws following its decision to replace the only historical female figure on English banknotes with a man. Solicitors acting for feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez have written to the Bank accusing it of failing in its duties to eliminate gender discrimination under the Equality Act.

    6. Reached 25,000 signatures
    7. Mervyn King was asked about the petition on Sky News

      Caroline Criado-Perez
      Petition Organizer

      He said that we have the Queen, thereby demonstrating that he hasn't even bothered to read the petition over 24000 people have signed.


      Let Me Explain Mervyn: change.org/banknotes

      On this auspicious day in 2013, Mervyn King, our esteemed Governor of that august institution, the Bank of England, graced the airwaves via the Murnaghan Show on Sky News, to make his first public comment about the banknotes petition.

    8. Reached 20,000 signatures
    9. Reached 17,500 signatures
    10. Reached 15,000 signatures
    11. Reached 12,500 signatures
    12. We will be on BBC Woman's Hour tomorrow morning!

      Caroline Criado-Perez
      Petition Organizer

      We will be talking about the petition and why recognising women's contribution to history is important.

    13. The Bank of England Responds

      Caroline Criado-Perez
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you to all who've signed! I guess with 5000 emails the BoE's inbox was getting pretty flooded ;) However, their answer is predictably patronising:

      They explained how long 'eminent British personalities' have featured on bank notes (thank you for that, we wouldn't have thought to look it up on Wikipedia) and explained the selection criteria: 'indisputable contribution to their particular field of work, recognised with the benefit of lengthy historical perspective, and about whom there exists sufficient material on which to base a banknote design' << that would explain why an ex-governor of the Bank of England is honoured, but not, you know, the woman who helped discover DNA.

      They then explain that not to worry, after Fry another note will be changed! This is of course completely unprecedented. They also kindly provided us with a link to the list of suggestions on their website - dominated by men.

      So thank you for this Bank of England, but sorry, no deal. Do better.


    Reasons for signing

      • about 1 year ago

      it should be equally shared i.e 4 banknotes 2 women, 2 men, not difficult really

    • Samantha Morrison WALSALL, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 1 year ago

      I work very hard as a self employed saxophonist. I decided to become self-employed when I was made redundant in 2011 from my job of 17 years. After years of being 'pigeon hold' as a 'struggling single mother' with no hope for the future, in the face of adversity I have single handedly set up a successful business, the product of which is my ability to play 3 different saxophones...all in which I am self-taught. I set up my business whilst completing a part-time BA (Hons.) degree and two gcse's in order to go onto train to be a secondary school teacher; all of which was done under the day-to-day pressures of being a single mother. I am proud to be a women, to have achieved the above things and to know that I have generated income...that I have become a BUSINESS WOMAN! To now be told that a male minister is going out of his way to remove the only face of a women from English bank notes...(for what reason?) I find extremely insulting!

      • about 1 year ago

      I'm proud to say my MP is Stella Creasy. Thankfully I don't read the Telegraph.

      • about 1 year ago

      If you feel like you need to change bank notes (for what ever reason) why not Marie Curie!?

    • Kathryn Canitz SASATOON SASK., CANADA
      • about 1 year ago

      Because I am proud of her


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