Anorak | The Bank of England keeping token women on banknotes is no victory

The Bank of England keeping token women on banknotes is no victory

by | 26th, July 2013

LIKE many people, I’m delighted with the news that the Bank of England will be keeping women on our banknotes . I made this cartoon  in support of the campaign.


There’s a few things about the reaction to the news which have struck me, so I thought I’d jot my notes down.

This isn’t a victory?

I’ve seen it said that this isn’t actually a victory, and that the Bank of England had clearly had the Jane Austen design in the bag, and all they’ve done is played a PR blinder in the face of the campaign.

I disagree.

Regardless of how far along the Bank were with the Austen design already, I think what has been achieved is that  it will never be tenable again  for the Bank to propose an all-male line-up. And with that principle—that there will always be at least one woman on our range of notes—we can start to chip away at the next objectives, the representation of leading figures from other marginalised groups on our notes.

The “Minimum Viable Campaign”

There have been complaints that this wasn’t the most important victory to win anyway, that there are more pressing issues to campaign about. In my work I’m often focussed on being “lean”, trying to get something out and working with the least amount of wasted effort. It strikes me that the bank notes campaign was an example of the “minimum viable campaign”. Taking one small example that is symbolic of a wider struggle, and working very hard to get people to think about and change that one thing.

Great. But Jane Austen is the wrong choice.


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Posted: 26th, July 2013 | In: Money, News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink