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COUNCIL for PARITY DEMOCRACY

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

19 Mulready House
Herrick Street
Westminster
London England SW1P 4JL
Tel & Fax + 44 20 7834 1309
Mobile + 44 79 32 79 44 32
Email shequality @ gmail.com
www.shequality.org for photos, see www.shequality.spaces.live.com
Honorary Secretary
Raymond Lloyd

BANKNOTES and DISTINGUISHED WOMEN of HISTORY 1980-2008


International Bank Note Society (IBNS) London Committee
Victory Services Club London 30 October 2008 @ Raymond Lloyd

It is a pleasure to address you again, giving another decade-long progress report since my
talks of 30 October 1997 (A) and 30 April 1987, and nearly thirty years since I launched my Women
on Banknotes project, with a letter of 25 May 1980 to the Bank of England, the ten other noteissuing banks in the British Isles, and a further 300 central bank governors and ministers of finance
throughout the world.
There has been some progress since 1997, as may be seen in the illustrated list of some 140
banknotes (B). But there have also been disappointments, the greatest of which has been the
disappearance of distinguished women of history from the banknotes of the Eurozone, from Austria
1, France 1, Germany 4, Ireland 1, Italy 1 and Slovenia 1. On 16 April 1996, in a letter to heads of

government and central bank governors in the then 15 EU countries, I tried to anticipate this loss,
and offered a list of some 16 distinguished European women of history who might appear on the new
Euro banknotes. I am still trying for the second series, probably to be issued in the mid to late
2010s, politically so as to make Europe more woman-friendly, and technically because a womans
long hair is still the hardest feature in a portrait to counterfeit.
A further disappointment was that only one Eurozone country portrayed a woman of history
on the new current coins, the Nobel Peace laureate Bertha von Suttner on the Austrian 2 euros.
Again I am conducting a rearguard action, issuing illustrated lists every year (C), for the European
Bank (EBRD) annual meetings, of women who might appear on the current coins of future Eurozone
countries, such as Marie Sklodowska Curie on the Polish coins; and, for the six-monthly meetings
of EU ministers of finance, of centenaries of women who might be portrayed on commemorative
coins of the current Eurozone countries, such as that of Saint Elisabeth of Thuringia who appeared
on a 10 euro coin in Germany in 2007, the 800th year of her birth, and the 5 euro coin of Italy for the
actress Anna Magnani, issued for her birth centenary on 7 March 2008.
Annexes downloadable from www.shequality.org
A. Banknotes and Distinguished Women of History: talk to ISBN London of 30 October 1997
B. Distinguished women of history: 140 banknotes, most illustrated in colour, updated to June 2005
C. Distinguished women of history: 20 Euro Coin Portraits, illustrated, to September 2007

2 pp
16 pp
2 pp

To return to the women still portrayed on non-Eurozone banknotes, there has, since my talk
in 1997, been progress, or enlightenment, in England, Scotland, Denmark, Norway, Serbia and
Ukraine. And outside Europe, there has been progress in Australia, Canada and Japan. Australia,
with Denmark, and like Germany earlier, are now the only two countries portraying on their
banknotes an equal number of women and men of history.
The most difficult country to convince has been the United States, where the same men have
been on the banknotes for 90 years, since 1918. However, if Barack Obama is elected President and
his remarks translated into action, at least the faces in the future may not be exclusively white.
Meanwhile the US has begun only the second commemorative coin issue devoted to women: the
first, in China in 1992, portrayed five distinguished women of history, while the second will portray
all of Americas First Ladies. They will include Eleanor Roosevelt, the principal originator of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whose 60th anniversary we celebrate on 10 December 2008.
I had earlier written to President Carter suggesting a note portraying Eleanor Roosevelt be issued for
the 30th anniversary in 1978, following my successful persuasion of Jamaica to add a Human Rights
inscription to their two dollar note for the 25th anniversary on 10 December 1973.
In my letter of May 1980 to the Bank of England, I drew attention in the accompanying
brochure to the bicentenary that year of the birth of Elizabeth Fry. I did the same again prior to the
150th anniversary in 1995 of the death of this prison reformer and, when I learned that such a note
would be issued in 2002, I suggested that it be issued on 21 May, the day she was born in 1780.
Elizabeth Fry came from the Gurney banking family of Quakers, one of the East Anglian originators
of Barclays Bank; and a Blue Plaque recalling a former domicile may be seen at one of the entrances
to the Bank station on the London Underground. On the reverse of the 5 banknote, she may be seen
teaching women prisoners to read.
A similar story may be told with regard to the subject on the 10 note of the Glasgow-based
Clydesdale Bank, which portrays Mary Slessor, the Dundee mill worker who became a missionary in
Nigeria and who even today is remembered as the person who halted the killing of twins. I visited
the Clydesdale Bank in August 1980, to learn they were not happy with the reverse of their note
portraying David Livingstone. So there and then, and in a subsequent letter, I suggested it be
replaced with a portrait of Mary Slessor. In fact since 1997, a 10 note portraying Mary, with a map
of Nigeria where she worked, has also been issued in two commemorative versions, with a
Millennium overprint on the obverse in 2000, and a new reverse for the Melbourne Commonwealth
Games in 2006, the latter in anticipation of Glasgow being awarded the Games in 2014.

Again in Scotland, I visited and wrote to the Edinburgh-based Royal Bank that they issue a
note for the 80th, then the 90th, then the 100th birthday of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, a 20
note announced only one day before the centenary of her birth on 4 August 2000. On 20 December
2000 I wrote to all 16 Commonwealth countries which still portrayed Queen Elizabeth II on their
banknotes, and another 15 note-issuing banks in Commonwealth monarchies with Elizabeth as their
queen, that they overprint existing portraits, or time the launch of new notes, for the Golden Jubilee
in 2002. Again the Royal Bank of Scotland issued such a note, now in a denomination of 5, while
Bermuda issued a 50 dollar note for the 50th anniversary of the Queens coronation in 1953.
2

For Ireland on 10 November 1990 I sent to President-Elect Mary Robinson and the Central
Bank Governor Maurice Doyle a list of 34 approaching 50- and 100-year anniversaries of Irish
women, headed by the educator and founder of the Sisters of Mercy, Catherine McCauley 17781841, who duly appeared on the 5 punt note issued in 1994. I have yet to make any progress with
the Northern Irish banks, two of which I last visited in Belfast on 26 July 2007, nor with the Isle of
Man, Guernsey or Jersey, the last of which did not act on my proposal for the 150th anniversary in
2003 of Lillie Langtry, painted by (fellow-Jersey born) John Everett Millais, Edward Poynter, and
Edward Burne-Jones, and recently both with Californian wines and an opera named after her by the
singer Karen Melander-Magoon.
There is a second category of women whose portrayal I have promoted, that of women in the
modern economy, from the education of girls, four illustrations of which, on banknote reverses, I
have illustrated (page 9 of Annex B), to women working with machinery and computers. Also there
is a third category among my lists, that of banknotes signed by women presidents, governors and
chief cashiers, which now include notes of Austria, Denmark, England, Finland, Malaysia,
Philippines and Poland, in addition to the bills signed by numerous women Treasurers of the United
States.
Beginning in 1994, I would send out to friends, instead of Christmas cards, a womans
banknote, that is, until 2003, by which time snail-mail had been overtaken by email, and it was easy
to reproduce sculptures or paintings of the Nativity. In 2005 I donated a collection of such notes to
Banknote Printers Convention in Washington, while a further collection may have been seen earlier
in the Bank of England Museum for the launch of the Elizabeth Fry banknote in 2002. Now I am
happy to donate a collection to the ISBNs London Committee, as follows

Brazil
100
Italy
1000
Ukraine
1
China
2
Bulgaria
20
Brazil
200
Lithuania
1
Kyrgyzstan
5
Kyrgyzstan 50

new cruzados
lire
karbovants
jiao
leva
cruzeiros
litas
som
som

1989
1991
1991
1980
1991
1981
1994
1997
1994

Cecilia Meireles 1901-64 poet


Maria Montessori 1870-1952 psychologist & educator
Monument to Princess Lybed co-founder of Kiev AD 482
Women from the Qiang and Korean minorities
Desislava Sevastokratoritza 13C founded Boyana church
Princess Isabel 1846-1921 abolished slavery in 1888
Juliya Zemaite 31.5.1845-1921 novelist
Bibisara Beishenalieva 1926-73 ballerina
Kurmanjan Datka 1811-19107 womens leader in Alay Valley

Also for those who have come for my talk today I have two individual gifts, circulating notes
collected on recent visits to Beijing and Kuala Lumpur, namely

China
Malaysia

5 jiao
1 ringgit

1980
2000

Women from the Miao and Zhuang minorities


Note signed by Central Bank Governor Mrs Zeti Aziz

COUNCIL for PARITY DEMOCRACY


____________________________________________________________________________________________________

19 Mulready House
Herrick Street
Westminster
London England SW1P 4JL
Tel & Fax + 44 20 7834 1309
Mobile + 44 79 32 79 44 32
Email shequality @ gmail.com
www.shequality.org for photos, see www.shequality.spaces.live.com
Honorary Secretary
Raymond Lloyd

BANKNOTES and DISTINGUISHED WOMEN of HISTORY 1980-1997


International Bank Note Society (IBNS) London Committee
Victory Services Club London
30 October 1997 @ Raymond Lloyd

The last time I spoke here was over ten years ago, on 30 April 1987. That talk was an update of a
keynote address given six years earlier, in Toronto, to InterPam 81, the first and only meeting of the wouldbe
Congress of the International Bank Note Society. Since 1981 the number of famous women portrayed on
banknotes has doubled, even trebled, to over 120 such notes, as detailed in the list I am now leaving with the
IBNS London Committee (A). My interest stems not so much from a study of banknotes as from a commitment to democracy, in particular to parity democracy, where women and men share equally in the responsibilities of government and administration, parliament and political parties, the judiciary, and the media.
For over thirty years I have been trying to influence the designs on coins and banknotes. I began in
1966, after having organized what still remains the largest international stamp issue in postal history, the 153country Freedom from Hunger issue in 1963/64. I realized that, for such longterm challenges as that of an
adequate world food supply, we needed to circulate such messages on more durable symbols, ones which
younger people would see every day for a decade or a generation, and symbols which might commit
ministries of finance, who usually decide on their issue, to budgetary measures to tackle the challenge.
Thus in 1966 I launched the first ever international coin issue, promoting the Food for All aims of the
UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). In the twelve years from October 1968 till I resigned from
FAO in March 1980, nearly 100 governments took part, issuing some 280 different denominations, in a total
of ten billion pieces, and with a face value of some $250 million. In 1969 FAO presented the initial album of
those coins to the British Museum, and in 1992 I donated to the Museum my own personal collection, of 17
coin panels for which I, like everyone else, had paid some US$ 1000, for showing to present and future
collectors.
I had begun working with FAO in 1961, and one insight I soon gained was that much agricultural
modernization made women worse off, for example, in the machinery and financial credit which went
primarily to men, leaving the drudgery and subsistence to women. Thus, during the second half of the FAO
programme, I made an effort to bring out coins featuring rural women's advancement, such as education for
girls, women in modern professions, and women operating farm machinery.
In 1971 I also began the first international medal issue of modern times, under which nearly 40
distinguished living women, who shared our Food for All ideals, donated their portraits as Ceres, the Roman
goddess of agriculture. At least three of those women have subsequently appeared on coins, Indira Gandhi,
Grace of Monaco, and Queen Sirikit of Thailand, while three have appeared on stamps, Olave Baden-Powell,
Mother Teresa and Margot Fonteyn, two of the six portraits based on our medal designs. I shall leave with the
IBNS London Committee, for its library, two of the brochures describing the Ceres medals, the second and
red one listing the first ten of some twenty projects for rural women's advancement financed from coin and
medal sales.
The last coin issued under my administration of the FAO programme was also the first to portray a
famous woman, the Italian educator Maria Montessori, who appeared on the 200 lire coin issued in 50 million
pieces on 8 March 1980, International Women's Day. Maria Montessori is also the first woman to appear in
Annexes
A. 120 banknotes portraying distinguished women of history
B. Anniversaries of 118 Distinguished Women of History from 42 countries: 1998-2002

3 pp
2 pp

her own right on an Italian banknote, the 1000 lire issued in 1991. From 1980 on, but now without pay, I
maintained my contacts with ministries of finance, central banks and mints to press for the issue of coins and
banknotes portraying famous women of history, and women in the modern economy.
My main method of work is that of researching and circulating illustrations of past coins and notes,
along with lists of upcoming 50- and 100-year anniversaries of distinguished historical women, now passing
150 persons every year. Thus I am leaving with the Society a list of some 118 women from 42 smaller
countries, outside Britain, the US and the European Union, whose anniversaries come up between 1998 and
2002, and whose names I circulated at the World Bank Meetings in Hong Kong in September 1997 (B).
Among the 120 notes portraying women of history, I have been able to distinguish 12 categories.
Allowing for overlaps, for categories not always updated, and for some notes showing unnamed women
engaged in the particular activity, I have found some 40 notes showing past queens or other stateswomen,
some 30 showing poets, novelists and other writers, some 20 featuring heroines, 10 showing painters and
other artists, 10 showing sopranos, dancers and other musicians, 20 showing educators, 15 suffragists and
similar women's leaders, and several each engaged in activities related to health, peace, religion or science.
Some 60 of the 120 notes have been issued by countries in Europe, 20 each in Latin America and
Asia, 10 in Africa, and the remainder in either North America and the Caribbean, or in the South Pacific area.
Three countries have made a policy of portraying an equal number of women and men on their notes:
Germany, Australia, and now Denmark. Two more have approached parity in the past, Austria and Portugal,
more by accident than design. Some 60 notes issued by 30 countries have women in their watermarks, most
of the watermarks a repeat of the portraits, but in several countries, in particular in the 5000 rupiah note of
Indonesia, only in the watermark. In addition to the notes signed by one of the many women Treasurers of
the United States, there are now at least four countries whose notes are signed by women governors of central
banks, those of Austria, Denmark, Finland and Poland.
At present only one note circulating in the United Kingdom bears the portrait of a distinguished
woman of history, as distinct from a reigning monarch, the 10 pound note issued in mid 1997 by the
Clydesdale Bank in Glasgow, and portraying Mary Slessor, the Scottish missionary to Nigeria, and the 150th
anniversary of whose birth in 1848 we celebrate next year. It was as long ago as 22 august 1980 that I wrote
to the Clydesdale suggesting the portrayal of Mary Slessor, and indeed it seems to take an average of ten
years for my suggestions to come to fruition, by which time the bank governor has retired and my input is
forgotten.
There is however one point I have insisted on, not so much to portray a particular woman as to choose
categories of portraits which do not exclude women. Thus in Iceland I was successful, when the Central Bank
had chosen 17th century scholars as its theme, in pointing out that this was a period when women could not
go to universities, so they chose another kind of female educator for their 5000 kronur note issued in 1986.
But in Canada, whose notes show four Prime Ministers, I have shouted into the wind for many years that
three of the four men shown became Prime Minister before women even got the vote, from 1917 onward.
Of the 120 women's notes about 50 are in current circulation. If we consider that there are some 200
countries and territories issuing notes, with about five notes per series, or a total of 1000 notes in current
circulation, those 50 women's notes account for only 5% of the current notes, a long way off parity. Thus of
the ten series of notes issued in the United Kingdom and associated islands, only one in fifty, the 10 pounds of
the Clydesdale Bank, shows a famous woman of history. Fortunately we have a queen, though even here we
are lucky, because if Elizabeth II had had a younger brother, her portrait would not grace so many notes in
England and elsewhere as is now the case.
In short there is a long way to go before women obtain parity on the symbols of the nation. It will
similarly be many years before Britain attains the state of parity democracy as, to cite an actual country rather
than Utopia, Sweden may be said to have done, following a series of measures culminating in 48% female
representation in Stockholm City Council in September 1994 and parity cabinets of 11 omen ministers and 11
men formed on 3 October 1994 and again on 15 March 1996. And Sweden of course, while only two of its
five banknotes feature famous women, these are at least the two most used notes, the 20 kronor portraying the
novelist Selma Lagerlof, and the 50 kronor portraying the soprano Jenny Lind.