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Cashing in on women

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


Name Who are they? Country
Juana Azurduy de Padilla Military leader during Bolivian war of independence Argentina
María Eva Duarte de Peron First lady and actress Argentina
Mary Gilmore Writer and journalist Australia
Nellie Melba Opera singer Australia
Edith Cowan First woman to serve as a member of Australian parliament Australia
Mary Reibey Merchant, shipowner, and trader Australia
Queen Elizabeth II Monarch Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom
Viola Desmond Civil rights activist Canada
The Famous Five Fought to have women considered persons under the law Canada
Gabriela Mistral First Latin American author to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature Chile
Debora Arango Artist Colombia
Virginia Gutierrez Anthropologist Colombia
Bozena Nemcova Author Czech Republic
Emmy Destinn Opera Singer Czech Republic
Anna Ancher Artist Denmark
Johanne Luise Heiberg Actress Denmark
Karen Blixen Author Denmark
Mirabal sisters Three sisters who opposed the Trujillo dictatorship Dominican Republic
Salome Urena de Henriquez Poet and the founder of women’s higher education in the country Dominican Republic
Tjoet Nja Meuthia National hero who fought against the Dutch Indonesia
Leah Goldberg Author Israel
Rachel Bluwstein Poet Israel
Ichiyo Higuchi Author Japan
Shin Saimdang Artist and writer Korea
Frida Khalo Artist Mexico
Juana Ines de la Cruz Nun, scholar, and poet Mexico
Kate Sheppard Prominent member of suffragette movement New Zealand
Ladi Kwali Potter Nigeria
Saint Rose of Lima Saint Peru
Corazon Aquino First woman to be president of the Philippines Philippines
Josefa Llanes Escoda Founder of the Girl Scouts in the Philippines Philippines
Nan Shepherd Writer and poet Scotland
Mary Somerville Science writer and polymath Scotland
Elsie Inglis Doctor and suffragist Scotland
Astrid Lindgren Author of Pippi Longstocking Sweden
Birgit Nilsson Opera Singer Sweden
Greta Garbo Actress Sweden
Sophie Taeuber-Arp Artist Switzerland
Fatma Aliye Topuz Author and women’s rights activist Turkey
Lesia Ukrainka Author Ukraine
Jane Austen Author United Kingdom
Josefa Camejo Venezuelan-independence fighter Venezuela


About Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, 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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