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Cashing in on women

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I spotted a really interesting analysis of cash and bank notes the other day. For those who follow this blog, you’ll know that I love bank notes. I collect them. Each country has different coloured bank notes with different art on its cash that reflect their ethos and society. In fact, through the years, most cash reflects the history and development of nations. It’s a fascinating area to study and, although I’m not a numismatist, I could easily become one.

Anyways, back to that analysis of cash, it looked at the colour and DNA of bank notes and found one particularly interesting fact:

Queen Elizabeth II may be the most popular figure featured worldwide, but our study revealed a clear lack of gender representation across banknotes, with just 7% of the notes analysed featuring a female figure. In fact, only Jersey, the UK and Denmark have a balanced or female favoured gender profile, with all other currencies predominantly featuring males.

Like everything else in our world, money is tainted and biased. It reflects our machismo and gender, with men dominating. I remember that there was a massive campaign to get a woman on a UK bank note, which succeeded, but you have to ask why?

Well, not really. Like all things, our world is geared towards those who lead and those who lead are generally men.

Anyways, to finish off my series about sexism in the City, here are the key banknotes who feature women.

From Britain, there are three notes of note.

Florence Nightingale

Elizabeth Fry

Jane Austen

Scotland, which issues its own bank notes, also has a number of notable ladies.

Nan Shepherd

Mary Sommerville

Catherine Cranston

Elsie Inglis

From the rest of the world


NameWho are they?Country
Juana Azurduy de PadillaMilitary leader during Bolivian war of independenceArgentina
María Eva Duarte de PeronFirst lady and actressArgentina
Mary GilmoreWriter and journalistAustralia
Nellie MelbaOpera singerAustralia
Edith CowanFirst woman to serve as a member of Australian parliamentAustralia
Mary ReibeyMerchant, shipowner, and traderAustralia
Queen Elizabeth IIMonarchAustralia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom
Viola DesmondCivil rights activistCanada
The Famous FiveFought to have women considered persons under the lawCanada
Gabriela MistralFirst Latin American author to receive a Nobel Prize in LiteratureChile
Debora ArangoArtistColombia
Virginia GutierrezAnthropologistColombia
Bozena NemcovaAuthorCzech Republic
Emmy DestinnOpera SingerCzech Republic
Anna AncherArtistDenmark
Johanne Luise HeibergActressDenmark
Karen BlixenAuthorDenmark
Mirabal sistersThree sisters who opposed the Trujillo dictatorshipDominican Republic
Salome Urena de HenriquezPoet and the founder of women’s higher education in the countryDominican Republic
Tjoet Nja MeuthiaNational hero who fought against the DutchIndonesia
Leah GoldbergAuthorIsrael
Rachel BluwsteinPoetIsrael
Ichiyo HiguchiAuthorJapan
Shin SaimdangArtist and writerKorea
Frida KhaloArtistMexico
Juana Ines de la CruzNun, scholar, and poetMexico
Kate SheppardProminent member of suffragette movementNew Zealand
Ladi KwaliPotterNigeria
Saint Rose of LimaSaintPeru
Corazon AquinoFirst woman to be president of the PhilippinesPhilippines
Josefa Llanes EscodaFounder of the Girl Scouts in the PhilippinesPhilippines
Nan ShepherdWriter and poetScotland
Mary SomervilleScience writer and polymathScotland
Elsie InglisDoctor and suffragistScotland
Astrid LindgrenAuthor of Pippi LongstockingSweden
Birgit NilssonOpera SingerSweden
Greta GarboActressSweden
Sophie Taeuber-ArpArtistSwitzerland
Fatma Aliye TopuzAuthor and women’s rights activistTurkey
Lesia UkrainkaAuthorUkraine
Jane AustenAuthorUnited Kingdom
Josefa CamejoVenezuelan-independence fighterVenezuela


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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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