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Jane Austen to appear on British 10 pound banknotes

Jane Austen

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney is already making his mark on the British financial scene.

Carney, formerly Canada's bank governor, announced on Wednesday that the famous English author will appear on a forthcoming Bank of England note. His move is helping to silence critics claiming there aren't enough women featured on the pound.

"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 recognized as one of the greatest writers in English literature," he said in a release.  

Austen joins Adam Smith and Sir Winston Churchill, celebrating a diverse range of Britons who've contributed to the world, he added.

The Churchill 5-pound note will be issued first during 2016 then Austen's image will follow the former British prime minister who led the nation during its darkest hours of the Second World War.

Carney also said a review will be undertaken in order to update the process as to who gets picked and why.

The Guardian reports English activists have long demanded the bank diversify those who get chosen to be on the pound. So far, the only women to appear on the notes since 1970 have been the Queen, prison reformer Elizabeth Fry and Florence Nightingale.

A petition was even started demanding the Bank of England add more women to the mix.

"An all-male line-up on our banknotes sends out the damaging message that no woman has done anything important enough to appear. This is patently untrue," the petition by Caroline Criado-Perez found at Change.org states. Petitioners had suggested Mary Wollstonecraft or Rosalind Franklin. 

Austen wrote a wide body of work including Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey. She is regarded as a giant among British authors.

The bank also said features of the design on the reverse of the Austen note will include the quote, "I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!" That quote is from Miss Bingley in Pride and Prejudice.

Tanya Talaga is the Star's global economics reporter. Follow her on Twitter @tanyatalaga.




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