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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Women replaced by a ship in Canada

In 2011, the Bank of Canada erased Canadian women from our bills and replaced them with a ship. Merna Forster is asking the Bank of Canada to fix this by featuring at least one woman from Canadian history on our bills.


In 2011, Canadian women were erased from our bills. The Bank of Canada, under Governor Mark Carney, decided to replace images of The Famous 5 and Thérèse Casgrain on our $50.00 bill with an icebreaker. 
Today, there are no Canadian women featured on Canada's new polymer bills, only male prime ministers and the Queen. As a historian studying studying the achievements of Canadian women, I believe this all-male lineup sends a terrible message: that no Canadian woman has ever done anything important enough to be featured on our money.
I started a petition asking Stephen Poloz, the new Governor of the Bank of Canada, to commit to featuring important women from Canadian history on Canada's bills. Please join me. 
The Bank of Canada will be considering new re-designs of the bills next year, so it's important that we raise our voices now. 
Who and what is celebrated on national symbols like our bills matters. These choices shape our view of the world and our identity as Canadians. They reflect what we consider important in our culture and history and who we consider worthy of honouring for achievement. Women are worthy, yet consistently underrepresented in the symbols and images that surround us. 
We can win. Campaigns like this have worked elsewhere. For example, this summer, after learning that Elizabeth Fry was to be replaced by Winston Churchill, women's advocates in England successfully petitioned the Bank of England to keep women on British Bank notes. Jane Austen will now be featured on the British £10 note.
Canadians should be proud of our amazing women and all they have accomplished -- from movie mogul and Academy Award winner Mary Pickford to artist Emily Carr, literary legend Gabrielle Roy,  Mohawk activist Mary Two-Axe Early, and Olympian Fanny "Bobbie" Rosenfeld.  Let's accomplish something incredible together by getting Canadian women featured on our bills once again!  If enough of us speak out I'm sure that we will soon be proud to see Canadian heroines represented on our bills. Click here to sign my petition.
Thank you,
Merna Forster
Canadian historian, author and creator of the Heroines Project
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