|Design for New £10 Note featuring Jane Austen
Source: Bank of England
Jane Austen to appear on £10 note
Jane Austen has been confirmed as the next face of the £10 note in a victory for campaigners demanding female representation – aside from the Queen – on the country's cash.
Sir Mervyn King, the Bank's former governor, had let slip to MPs that the author of Pride and Prejudice was "waiting in the wings" as a potential candidate to feature on a banknote, and his successor, Mark Carney, confirmed on Wednesday that she would feature, probably from 2017.
"Jane Austen certainly merits a place in the select group of historical figures to appear on our banknotes. Her novels have an enduring and universal appeal and she is recognised as one of the greatest writers in English literature," the new governor said.
He also announced that the Bank would carry out a review of the process for selecting the historical figures who appear on banknotes, to ensure that a diverse range of figures is represented.
"We believe that our notes should celebrate the full diversity of great British historical figures and their contributions in a wide range of fields. The Bank is committed to that objective, and we want people to have confidence in our commitment to diversity. That is why I am today announcing a review of the selection process for future banknote characters," Carney said. The review will be overseen by the chief cashier Chris Salmon, whose signature appears on banknotes.
Carney's announcement was aimed at quelling a three-month storm of protest unleashed when King announced that the only woman to appear on an English banknote other than the Queen – the prison reformer Elizabeth Fry – would be replaced by Winston Churchill, probably in 2016. She and Florence Nightingale are the only two women, other than the Queen, to have appeared on English banknotes since they started portraying historical figures in 1970.
Campaigners threatened to take the Bank to court for discrimination under the 2010 Equality Act and launched a petition on the campaign site Change.org which secured more than 35,000 signatures.
Caroline Criado-Perez, co-founder of feminist blog the Women's Room, who led the campaign, and was called in to discuss the issue with Salmon, said the Bank's announcement marked a "brilliant day for women".