We are running out of time to hold the sexist Bank of England to account; please see section below for draft letter to email to your contacts. THANK YOU!

                                   DONATE                             SIGN

                                                 

In April 2013, the Bank of England announced that they were removing the only female historical figure from our banknotes and replacing her with another white man. We are challenging them under the 2010 Equality Act which states that in every decision a public body takes, they must pay due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and promote equality. The Bank of England has refused to provide any evidence that they have done this and have claimed that the figures on banknotes are irrelevant to equality.

Spread the word!

This may be a small issue. But a sexist culture where women are routinely overlooked, undermined and abused is made up of small issues, and if we want to tackle that culture we can't ignore them small issues. Small begets big

So if you think it's important that women's achievements have historically been ignored, if you think it's important that women still don't have equal pay, if you think it's important that women's voices are drowned out in public debate, HELP US CHANGE THAT.

DONATE for the #banknotes legal challenge - don't let the Bank of England buy their way out of justice. They have money, but we have people power - let's show them what that means! (gofundme.com/banknotes)

SIGN our petition! Every signature sends an email direct to the Bank of England and helps us keep the pressure up! (change.org/banknotes)

CHECK OUT the huge list of amazing women alternatives for the Bank to choose from - and feel free to suggest some more!

*PRESS RELEASE*

Yesterday, the 9th of July, I met the Bank to discuss our campaign - and how we might remedy the current issue of Churchill / Fry, and how we might ensure that this doesn't happen again. Please see below for our respective statements.

Caroline Criado-Perez:

"I met with the Bank yesterday and welcomed the opportunity to put forward my concerns and the concerns of nearly 35,000 people who signed the petition to keep a woman on English bank notes. I am hopeful that the Bank has now understood the importance of this issue and I remain hopeful that we will be able to resolve this in an amicable manner without the need to resort to court proceedings.

 I look forward to a positive announcement by the Bank in the near future regarding both our specific concerns over their recent decision to replace Elizabeth Fry with Winston Churchill, and the more long-term aim of reviewing their public decision-making procedures so that we can be sure that they are taken in an equitable manner."


 The Bank of England:

"Victoria Cleland, Head of Notes, and Chris Salmon, Chief Cashier, yesterday met Caroline Criado-Perez. The meeting provided a valuable opportunity to hear and discuss Ms Criado-Perez's concerns and yesterday's productive discussion will inform ongoing work at the Bank. The Governor has said that he intends to make a statement about banknotes later this month."

We had a brilliant protest outside the Bank of England on Friday the 5th of July; in attendance were an amazing array of great women from history, showing the Bank exactly how easy it was to find women impressive enough to be featured on our banknotes. In our press section below you will find links to articles about the protest; here are some pictures that give an idea about the wonderful atmosphere...but first, here are our own banknotes, designed by the wonderful people at Change - we're sure you'll agree they look amazing and the BoE should take note!

                                                                                                            

And now for some pictures of the protest itself!

Here we are marching outside the Bank - you might spot Boudicca, Jane Austen, Rosalind Franklin and Emily Wilding Davison...

                       Dogs called Poppy are essential at any protest...









                                            Rare shot of feminists smiling....

But this is what we look like when we're cross







Close-ups of the banknotes in action...


                                        

Handing in the petition to Victoria Cleland, Head of Notes Division

                           

                                                                        Post petition hand-in










Statements of Support


“It’s 2013, but we are a long way off from equality between women and men in the UK. Men outnumber women 4 to 1 in parliament, the number of women in the Cabinet is at a ten year low and there are no women at all on the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee.

Cultural representations of women have a massive impact; the Bank  of England’s decision sends a clear message  - no woman have led distinguished enough lives, have made enough difference, to be honoured in this way.

It’s disappointing that another female face wasn’t added to the banknote roll call,  but it beggars belief to actually remove the only one we had. Despite the odds being stacked against them there is happily no shortage of exceptional women they could have picked.”

Ceri Goddard, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society


"Violence against women and girls is both a consequence and cause of inequality between women and men.  Of course, I am not suggesting that the inclusion of a woman on banknotes would reduce male violence against women and girls.  But I do believe that when we have a choice about whether our actions reinforce or challenge inequality between women and men, if we chose to ignore or exclude women, then we are guilty  of relegating women to a second-class status.  If we think that making women invisible is acceptable, then we are part of the problem.

Less than 50 years ago working women were refused mortgages in their own right and only granted them if they could secure the signature of a male guarantor. If it wasn’t so indicative of gross gender inequality, we could laugh at this now. The Bank of England can choose to continue with the financial world’s tradition of discrimination  against women or it can take one small step towards equality.  I hope in another 50 years, people can look back and laugh at the ridiculous the notion of all-male banknotes.”

- Karen Ingala Smith, Chief Executive of nia, a London based charity working to end violence against women and girls

"Some might consider this a minor or unimportant issue. But for the tens of thousands of women who have shared their experiences with the Everyday Sexism Project, it is often the most 'minor' issues that have the greatest cumulative effect in a world that sends them the daily message that they are 'other', 'secondary', or even superfluous. It is a world in which little girls are growing up asking to be turned into boys so they can go into space, or telling us they thought it was literally 'not allowed' for girls to be doctors, or farmers, or lawyers, because there is so little visibility of women in those roles. When every female image we see around us is presented as an object, or the sum of her sexualised body parts, from adverts, to magazines, to Page 3, it has never been more important to raise the visibility of female role models, to provide those little girls with an alternate idea of their own potential and self worth."

- Laura Bates of the Everyday Sexism Project


We welcome this challenge as timely and appropriate and we hope it will be treated seriously – we live in a world in which girls are learning that they will be valued according to their physical appearance and what sort of man they can attract. Every analysis agrees that the cuts have disproportionately impacted on women’s employment.  Only 1 in 5 experts contributing to media are women, in business, female directors are only 16.7% of the total and our parliament is ranked 57th for equality.

Girls are being discouraged from active sports, from science, from aspiring to and demonstrating their intellectual and career achievements.  Girls and women suffer a “likeability penalty” for demonstrating assertiveness, achieving and wielding power or succeeding in their career.  After years of progress, we are in a major backlash. Women’s autonomy and their visibility, power and influence in the public sphere is actually shrinking. 

Featuring one or two of the thousands of women who overcame discrimination and the constraints of strictly enforced roles for women in our history in order to make a lasting contribution to our society and futures is surely not a lot to ask. It has the potential to send a powerful message to men and women about women’s role in public life every time we hand over a note.” 

- Denise Marshall,  Chief Executive of Eaves

WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME! Please copy and paste this letter and send it to all your friends and colleagues; if you are at university as a student or academic, please ask your Woman's Officer to send it round. We need to spread the word as far, wide and fast as possible if we are going to stop the Bank of England evading justice! 

Feel free to adapt it if you think it can be shorter - it is written with people who haven't heard of the campaign before in mind.

Suggested Subject: Please read this in full: it's important to me.

OR: ​Don't let the Bank of England buy their way out of justice! Help spread the word!

Dear [xxxxx]

I am getting in touch to ask for your help. Nearly two months ago, the Bank of England announced a new figure for our paper currency. That person was Churchill. What they did not mention in the long speeches they made at the time about the 'gilded list' that he was joining and the 'uniquely privileged position' they were in to be able to 'promote our shared cultural heritage', was that Churchill would be replacing the only female historical figure on our banknotes. This means that our banknotes will exclusively feature white men.

This matters. It matters because we still live in a culture where women's achievements are routinely undermined and erased - you only need to look at the paltry representation of women in our new history curriculum to see this in action. It matters because a growing and compelling field of research on role models shows how much impact they have on young women - including a negative impact where they are absent. And it matters because, as the Bank of England themselves say, the choice of figures on our banknotes promotes a shared cultural heritage - and what does it say about us as a country if we see that heritage as exclusively white and male?

This is why it matters - and this is what I am doing about it. To date, more than 28000 people have signed a petition, asking the Bank of England to reverse their decision to remove the only woman on our banknotes and replace her with yet another man. In response, the Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King informed us that 'with respect', the Queen is on the notes, thereby completely evading the conversation we are having about merit rather than inherited privilege, and also demonstrating that, far from respecting the 28000 people who had signed the petition, he had not even read it, since the issue of the Queen is addressed there.

In a more concerning move, he also said that he was 'sure' that all people 'would' have been treated equally, despite the fact that at this point, the Bank of England had already been sent a legal letter arguing that they were in breach of the 2010 Equality Act, which is not satisfied with conditionals such as 'sure' and 'would'; on the contrary, it requires Mervyn King himself to know that he has paid due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and promote equality. In line with King's own comment, the Bank's formal response also demonstrated a lack of understanding of their duty under the Equality Act. They claimed that the duty is not engaged, but also claimed that they had complied with it; considering the positive action required under the Act it is arguable that it is possible to fulfil the duties of the Act while at the same time thinking they are not engaged. They also refused to provide any documentation regarding the decision-making process,  calling it a 'fishing expedition' - this despite the fact that the Equality Act explicitly refers to the decision-making process, meaning that evidence of how a decision was taken is paramount to demonstrating compliance. Finally, they completely changed their tone about the the significance of the people on banknotes - no longer a 'gilded list', it was an irrelevance which 'prominent dead person' replaced another.

I do not want to take the Bank of England to court. I simply want them to recognise their duties under the Equality Act - indeed a very easy way out is open to them, since Darwin is in fact an older note than Fry and therefore is due a change anyway. However, the Bank is not taking this option. Instead they are throwing all the public funds they have at their disposal into defending the decision not to have a single woman on our banknotes; their solicitors are as expensive as they come. This is without doubt a David and Goliath situation, but I do not believe that the Bank should be able to buy their way out of justice. There is no doubt that the Bank is big, powerful and rich. But what we lack in funds, we make up for in strength of numbers. We only need 671 people to donate £10 to reach our target - but time is running out. We only have until the 24th of June to make our target amount. Please help us get there: forward this email on to all your friends; tweet about the petition; share it on facebook; and please donate whatever you can to help us see justice done.

I believe we can get there, but it requires us all to pull together and stand firm against inequality and injustice. This may be a small thing, but small things add up to a toxic culture in which women are routinely discriminated against. Let's not let the small things slide.

Thank you so much for your support.

Shorter version of the letter - you know your audience!

Dear [xxxxx]

I am getting in touch to ask for your help. Nearly two months ago, the Bank of England announced a new figure for our paper currency. That person was Churchill. What they did not mention in the long speeches they made at the time about the 'gilded list' that he was joining and the 'uniquely privileged position' they were in to be able to 'promote our shared cultural heritage', was that Churchill would be replacing the only female historical figure on our banknotes. This means that our banknotes will exclusively feature white men.

This matters. It matters because we still live in a culture where women's achievements are routinely undermined and erased - you only need to look at the paltry representation of women in our new history curriculum to see this in action. It matters because a growing and compelling field of research on role models shows how much impact they have on young women - including a negative impact where they are absent. And it matters because, as the Bank of England themselves say, the choice of figures on our banknotes promotes a shared cultural heritage - and what does it say about us as a country if we see that heritage as exclusively white and male?

This is why it matters - and this is what I am doing about it. To date, more than 28000 people have signed a petition, asking the Bank of England to reverse their decision to remove the only woman on our banknotes and replace her with yet another man. We have also issued a legal challenge under the 2010 Equality Act, asking the Bank to demonstrate how they have complied with their duty to eliminate discrimination and promote equality. They have refused to do this, calling our request for documentation a 'fishing expedition', despite the fact that the Equality Act required positive steps to be taken for compliance.

I do not want to take the Bank of England to court. I simply want them to recognise their duties under the Equality Act - indeed a very easy way out is open to them, since Darwin is in fact an older note than Fry and therefore is due a change anyway. However, the Bank is not taking this option. Instead they are throwing all the public funds they have at their disposal into defending the decision not to have a single woman on our banknotes; their solicitors are as expensive as they come. This is without doubt a David and Goliath situation, but I do not believe that the Bank should be able to buy their way out of justice. There is no doubt that the Bank is big, powerful and rich. But what we lack in funds, we make up for in strength of numbers. We only need 671 people to donate £10 to reach our target - but time is running out. We only have until the 24th of June to make our target amount. Please help us get there: forward this email on to all your friends; tweet about the petition; share it on facebook; and please donate whatever you can to help us see justice done.

I believe we can get there, but it requires us all to pull together and stand firm against inequality and injustice. This may be a small thing, but small things add up to a toxic culture in which women are routinely discriminated against. Let's not let the small things slide.

Thank you so much for your support.

Twitter