Friday, 26 April 2013

Who To Put On Money?

This is a very simple and short blog regarding who we in the UK celebrate the achievements of by putting them on our paper money.  The Bank of England have announced today that as of 2016 Sir Winston Churchill will replace Elizabeth Fry on the £5 note.  It is of course absolutely right that Churchill should be honoured in this way, and frankly I think it should have happened far sooner.

However, with this change the only woman represented on British currency is gone.  Of the 15 people (including Matthew Boulton and James Watt both on the £50 note) who have been on UK currency only two of them have been women (Florence Nightingale being the other).  This seems rather unfair given the obvious contributions many British women have given to the world at large in the last century alone.  I would suggest that any of the following are worthy of inclusion [1]:

Rosalind Franklin     Scientist, 1920-1958
The unsung hero of DNA, Franklin's X-ray images of the double helix provided the data that Francis Crick and James Watson used to make their hypothesis on its structure. She died of ovarian cancer at 37, just four years before the Nobel prize was claimed by her contemporaries.
Dorothy Hodgkin      Chemist, 1910-1994
A Nobel prize-winning chemist, Hodgkin's research into the molecular structure of insulin has helped save millions of lives. As one of the first people to use X-rays to determine the structure of molecules, she also confirmed the structure of penicillin and vitamin B12 and helped pave the way for DNA research.
Agnes Hunt    Nurse, 1867-1948
Recognised as the first orthopaedic nurse, Hunt pioneered disability care when she opened a convalescent home for children in Shropshire in 1900. She received the Royal Red Cross for her nursing of soldiers during the First World War. Her project developed into what is now The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital.
Daphne Jackson        Physicist, 1936-1991
Britain's first female physics professor. Had a distinguished career in nuclear, medical and radiation physics at the University of Surrey. Later she worked to promote science careers to women and set up a scheme to help women return to science after childbirth.
Amy Johnson             Aviator, 1903-1941
After becoming the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia in 1930, the pioneering aviator went on to set a slew of long-distance flying records. She died after going off-course in bad weather while transporting RAF aircraft around the country for the Air Transport Auxiliary during the Second World War.
Vera Lynn     Singer, Born 1917
The original "Forces Sweetheart" sent messages to British troops and performed song requests on her radio programme Sincerely Yours during the Second World War, as well as touring overseas to perform for soldiers. Last year, the "We'll Meet Again" singer was the oldest living artist to top the UK album chart.
Emmeline Pankhurst            Suffragette, 1858-1928
The pioneer of women's rights founded the Women's Social and Political Union in 1898 and led the British suffragette movement, which in 1918 won the vote for women over the age of 30. Although the political activist came under fire for her militant tactics, she supported the government during the First World War.
Violette Szabo            SOE Operative, 1921-1945
Code named "Louise", Szabo was a secret agent in the Second World War, leading a French resistance network to sabotage bridges and communication lines ahead of the D-Day landings. She was caught, sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp, and executed. Posthumously awarded the George Cross.