Austen Banknote: Twitter Reacts with Pride and Prejudice

25th Jul 2013

Jane Austen on the ten pound note
Campaigners, led by Caroline Criado-Perez, yesterday succeeded in their goal of stopping the Bank of England brush over the achievements of an entire gender, when it was announced that Jane Austen will be the next figure to appear on the ten pound note, replacing Charles Darwin.

Twitter exploded, initially in a sea of congratulations to Criado-Perez which had Jane Austen trending in the UK and an obviously delighted Criado-Perez thanking everyone who sent her a tweet.

Things soon started swinging into the bickering sidelines quickly enough though. As we discovered through a quick trawl of our twitter feed, there were many disappointed with the Bank of England’s choice, mainly because of her perceived dullness and predictability:

And there were those who pointed out her suitability of the role in not a particularly flattering way…

Just be happy it's a lady!Virginia Woolf, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley and Emmeline Pankhurst were all touted as being more deserving, more suitable or more useful to the cause than old Aunt Jane. Understandably there were a few who gave this viewpoint rather a short shrift.

And then there were those who gave the whole darn thing a short shrift…

And those who were deservedly given short shrift themselves, for either attempting to steal the fruits of someone else’s hard labour, or for terrible puns – both well-known Tory traits…

We’d like to make it very clear that we’re over the moon about the Austen banknote, and that her face will be beaming back at us as we splash the cash, but can’t quite help, after all that, sympathising with this:

But, to end with, let’s celebrate a bit of an under-reported victory: the campaign didn’t just keep a woman on our bank notes, it got something else it asked for: the Bank of England is going to review the process it has for choosing who appears on the notes.

Let’s be happy too that the money raised for the legal challenge will now go, as promised, to charity. In the words of For Books’ Sake founder Jane Bradley: “BOOM“.

Rebecca Winson and Jennie Gillons


  • Louisa @ My Family & Abruzzo says:

    I like Austen’s books, amongst many other authors, but I feel it is a bit safe and boring. There are many other women that would make more of an impact and of more historical importance to women. Miss Austen always wrote of heroines that were trapped by circumstance and who, apart from maybe Lizzie Bennett, did their duty. Hardly inspiring.

    • Rebecca Winson says:

      I’m inclined to agree – Wollstonecraft would have got my vote.

      They should let us vote!

      Although then we might end up with notes full of LOL cats. Would this be a bad thing?

      • EqualityKate says:

        I have to be honest here we want the best of women to represent us, if the choice is Jane Austin or Charles Darwin, I’d rather we stuck with Darwin, infact as one of the better men in history I think we should keep Darwin and replace a different man on a different note or print both in equal number.

        Here’s the ladies I want to see on a note:

        Elizabeth 1st, or
        Boudicca Warrior Queen of the Iceni.

        Real women of power who accomplished something more than the publication of fiction.

        • Rebecca Winson says:

          I do love her, but surely Elizabeth I didn’t achieve what she did purely because of merit – surely it had more to do with who her Dad was…

          • Beulah Devaney says:

            Tsk, everyone always forgets about Lydia Bennet. She runs away with Wickham, disgraces her family and yet gets to marry him and move to Newcastle (which is really no punishment). Does anyone get how insane it is that a female heroine in Austen’s time was allowed to behave so badly, be sexually liberated and not die from shame/childbirth?? I love the Brontes but fuck their religious moralising – the fact that Lydia Bennet got away with behaving this way fills me with glee and respect for Jane Austen.

  • Louise says:

    i’m glad Jane Austen is going to be on the tennner, she’s a great writer. But she should be there because she is a great writer, not because she is a woman. her sex should be irrelevent.