Show Me the (Jane Austen) Money

Bank of England

So, there’s this little bit of good news this week: Jane Austen is going to be the new face of the Bank of England’s £10 note. There are many wonderful things about this, the most obvious is—hello—it’s Jane Austen. Who doesn’t love Jane Austen? And, honestly, if you are one of the holdouts or haven’t read her yet, perhaps you need to rethink your stance.

But I digress. There’s more wonderfulness than there mere fact of her being chosen. Digging deeper, there’s the fact that the Bank of England was concerned that there weren’t enough women on their bank notes. This concern was certainly aided by the fact that people protested the lack of a female presence on their money. There was an online campaign. There was a petition. And it worked.

This left me thunderstruck, as it’s certainly not a concern here in the U.S. The Susan B. Anthony and Sacajawea dollar coins went quickly by the wayside to be replaced with…more dead presidents. It’s not that I have a beef with some dead presidents. But seriously: you’re going to choose Andrew Johnson over Susan B. Anthony?

The other part of this that I love is simply the fact that the Bank of England chooses to celebrate writers and artists and thinkers and scientists on their money. Jane Austen is going to replace Charles Darwin on the £10 note.  They’ve had the likes of Shakespeare, Sir Christopher Wren, Charles Dickens, and Florence Nightingale. And why not? Why not celebrate the people who’ve shaped the culture of your nation?

Is it time to start a campaign here in the states? Anyone for Mark Twain or Emily Dickinson? Georgia O’Keefe or John Singer Sargent?