Last week I was lucky enough to be able to attend the fabulous Cybher blogger event at the sumptuous 8 Northumberland Avenue. I was part of a panel entitled "Social Women and Business", discussing social media and digital marketing across a variety of businesses.
As part of the panel, host Eva Keogan and Caroline Criado-Perez of The Women's Room launched a campaign to get women back onto our banknotes. Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, has announced Winston Churchill will replace social reformer Elizabeth Fry as the face of £5 notes. This means that, other than the Queen, there will be no women featuring on our English bank notes.
As well as a petition and a GoFundMe site to launch a legal challenge, Eva and Caroline asked bloggers to write a post on which female they would add to a banknote.
It's been incredible fun looking for women that fit the bill. In fact, it's become a great reason to go back through history looking for the bright spots of women's achievement rather than lamenting the lack of it.
My proposed banknote figurehead is exactly such a bright spot. Born in 1780, long before any form of emancipation, Mary Somerville scraped together an education by taking lessons with her uncle and tagging along to her brother's tutorials. Her parents forbid her from continuing her studies after her sister's death, so she continued in secret.
She helped to popularise science by translating Laplace for a general audience, and predicted the existence of Neptune, which was later found in 1846. In 1835, along with Caroline Herschel, she became one of the first women members of the Royal Astronomical Society and in 1869 she was awarded the Victoria Medal of the Royal Geographical Society.
What a brilliant scientist. I think she would make a great addition to our banknotes.
Managing Director of Softwire, technology and backgammon presenter. Plus a little bit of new music radio.