In 2016, Sir Winston Churchill will be replacing Elizabeth Fry on the £5 note.*

When this happens, the only woman on British currency will be the Queen. This news left me wondering what the proportion of men to women looks like on bank notes around the world. I figured that the ratio would say a little bit about the state of gender equality in each country (though of course it’s not wholly representative – recognition of a few doesn’t mean equal opportunities for everyone).

A few things to bear in mind about the graph:

  • Most of Western Europe doesn’t feature because of the euro.
  • Only notes that are currently in circulation have been considered.
  • People who have appeared on more than one note are only counted once.
  • Reigning monarchs have been excluded because I’m concerned with figured who have been selected to appear on notes because of their own merits.
  • Although there are different notes in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, they’ve been presented together as it’s all the same currency.
  • Being the hardcore statistician I am, my source is Wikipedia. If you notice anything not quite right, do let me know.

* Annoyed? Make your voice heard.

8 thoughts on “Ratio of women to men on bank notes

  1. The Japanese 2,000 yen note, which is current although not widely in circulation, has Murasaki Shikibu, female author of the Tale of Genji, on it. The 5,000 yen has female writer Higuchi Ichiyo on it. 40% is not as good as Canada but a great deal better than the 0 you indicate.

  2. Canada: you mean the gargoyles on the Parliament Building ? Three Canadians here can’t think of any, apart from our foreign Queen.

  3. Besides the Queen, Hereward Pooley, the new Canadian 50$ bill’s theme of nation builiders includes Alberta’s Famous Five and Thérèse Casgrain. 6 women on 1 bill. That’s what tips the stats for Canada.

    • Thank you. Next time I see a $50 I’ll look more closely. A lot of shops don’t accept them so we don’t see them very often.

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