I read a snippet today that got me wondering.
Ruth Sunderland of the Daily Mail has suggested that the appearance of high profile women on bank notes here in Britain will bolster female interest in the engineering profession.
Those that have received a guernsey in the proposed Womens’ Engineering Society (WES) campaign include crusader of the skies Amy Johnson and doyen of the digital Ada Lovelace. Sunderland suggests that the appearance of women such as this right at our fingertips could help to inspire young women thinking of a career in the engineering industry, or even the banking sector.
If you head on over to the source of all this inspiration, you’ll find out that WES is an organisation that supports women in technical professions. Formed by the women who took up engineering during WWI while the men were away, the WES will celebrate its 95th anniversary next year and in looking for ways to attract women into non-traditional roles, they will launch National Women in Engineering Day on 23rd June 2014, 100 years to the day after the start of WWI.
Further wiki-style investigation has led me to understand that, apart from Elizabeth II, the only other woman appearing on English bank notes has been Florence Nightingale who did the rounds on a tenner between 1975 and 1994.
Australian lolly fares better with the fairer sex featuring on 50% of bills. There’s warbler and sweet inspiration Nellie Melba, two Mary’s – Reibey, a businesswoman and Gilmore, a poet – and a couple of suffragettes (Edith Cowan and Catherine Helen Spence).
And then if you flip an Aussie fiver, you’ll find one of the two women who have held the royal reins longer than any fella in British history. She’s had an upgrade on the new polymer notes having only made her mark previously on paper of just one dollar denomination. The previous five dollar note featured champion of female immigrant welfare, humanitarian Caroline Chisholm.
Anyhow, I digress. It got me thinking who might appear on currency of the future. Would Angelina Jolie’s humanitarian efforts garner her a spot on a greenback? What about Claire Balding, one of Britain’s best sports reporters, beaming up at you from a British bill? And then there’s Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female Prime Minister – how will she be honoured by her world of back-biting back benchers and odious Opposition?
Who do you think should get their bonce on your banknote?