Sunday, May 8, 2016

Minted Women: What Does a Girl Have to Do to Get on a Banknote

Sputnik International 08.05.2016

They feature portraits of the Founding Fathers and former presidents, monuments and places of interest, the banknotes of different countries, however rarely, feature women. And with the recent US announcement to put the image of a woman on the new $20 bill, Sputnik has compiled a series of banknotes with recognized female leaders.

Anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman will be the first woman to appear on a US banknote for more than a century.

Earlier in April the US Treasury announced Tubman, who was born a slave around 1820 and helped hundreds of others escape, will replace the late president Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.

However at least 10 other nations, including Syria, Mexico, and Israel, have already recognized female leaders on their banknotes.

Sputnik has studied what a woman needs to be to grace a banknote.


Syria’s current image is that of a nation wracked by war and struggling against the violent militant group Daesh.

But it outpaced the United States in one sign of social progress: recognizing women on its official currency.

The Syrian Warrior Queen of Palmyra, Zenobia, known for fighting back against Roman colonizers in the second century AD, appears on the 500 pound note.


Mexico’s 500 peso note shows muralist Diego Rivera on the front and his wife and fellow artist Frida Kahlo on the back.

Her image is a 1940 self-portrait, alongside a famous painting of hers from 1949, “Love’s Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico), Myself, Diego and Señor Xólotl.”


Argentina’s beloved former First Lady Eva Perón – widely known by her nickname “Evita” – appears on the current 100-peso bill.

New Zealand

Like many other former British colonies, New Zealand features Queen Elizabeth II on its currency – the 20 dollar note.

But the country’s banknotes also honor suffragette Kate Sheppard, who in 1893 helped New Zealand become the first country in the world with universal voting rights for both men and women.

Her image appears on the 10-dollar bill.


Imagery on the krona celebrates several women in Sweden’s history.

It used to have Selma Lagerlöf – the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature – on the 20 krona note and 19th-century opera singer Jenny Lind on the 50 krona bill.

Last year the country updated several notes featuring Pippi Longstocking author Astrid Lindgren on the 20 krona, 20th-century century soprano Birgit Nilsson on the 500 krona, and classic film actress Greta Garbo on the 100 krona note.


The country’s 5,000 pesos note features Gabriela Mistral, 1945 Literature Nobel Prize winner.

The EU countries also had female portraits on their banknotes before introducing the euro.

Among them was Poland’s 20 zloty note which featured Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist Marie Skłodowska Curie, who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity.

The face of Maria Montessori, the great Italian physician and educator, graced the 1,000 lire banknote. Montessori was best known for the philosophy of education that bears her name, and her writing on scientific pedagogy.

Before splashing in new sea-themed banknotes, Norway’s bills also have featured women.

The 500 kroner note (1999) portrayed Sigrid Undset (1882–1949), author and winner of the Nobel Prize in literature in 1927.

Russian ruble banknotes feature monuments and places of interest from different Russian cities, however back in the times of the Empire it featured the portraits of the Russian emperors.

For example, the Russian 100 ruble issue of 1910 featured the Imperial Russian coat of arms in addition to a watermark of Catherine II on the front, while the back featured a portrait of the Tzarista along with an allegorical male figure.

The last time a woman appeared on any US paper money was in the 1800s, when Martha Washington – the wife of President George Washington- graced the $1 bill from 1891 to 1896.

1 comment:

nichola said...

Also Brazil 100 Cruzados Novos featured poet Cecilia Meireles