By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez for Coinweek …….
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared the Bank of Canada will feature a woman on the first new banknote of 2018. The landmark move, announced during an International Women’s Day event on March 8, comes after women’s groups and others have called for Canada to honor a woman on the nation’s currency.
The search to find the woman who will grace the new polymer banknote is underway and will be decided in an open nomination process. All Canadians, female and male, are encouraged to voice their suggestions on the Bank of Canada’s website.
Nominees who will be considered must be Canadian by birth or naturalization and have demonstrated leadership or achievement in a way that benefitted the people of Canada or assisted in the service of the nation. Another important nominating criterion is that the nominee cannot be fictional and must have been deceased for at least 25 years. The open call for nominations closes on April 15, 2016. After that time, an independent council consisting of academic, social, and cultural leaders will review the nominees and engage in consultation with the public before providing a short list of candidates to Finance Minster Bill Morneau.
“In our country’s nearly 150-year history, women, with the notable exception of the Queen [Elizabeth II], have largely been unrepresented on our banknotes,” Morneau said. “We think it’s high time to change that.”
Morneau conferred with Stephen Poloz, Governor of the Bank of Canada, to see if it were possible to put a woman on the nation’s currency. “They had been thinking about if for a very long time,” Morneau remarked. “We all agree – ‘we’ meaning the people of the finance, obviously the Prime Minister, and all of our colleagues agree – that now is the right time to move forward on this very important step,” he continued. “So, very soon a new generation of women will carry with them as constant reminders in their pockets, in their purses, however they carry with them, that they are not only a part of Canada’s future but a celebrated part of history.”
The announcement in Canada comes as many leaders south of the border make a similar plea to put a female on United States currency.
The Women on 20s movement gained ground in 2015 by advocating for the removal of Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill to accommodate a woman’s portrait, but the Treasury Department announced it will leave the $20 bill intact, replete with Jackson’s image, in favor of modifying the $10 bill to include an image of both Alexander Hamilton and a female. Secretary of the Treasury Jacob “Jack” Lew has stated that he will make a decision on the redesign of the $10 bill sometime in 2016, though many are still pushing for redesigning the $20 bill with an iconic female by the year 2020.