Paper Money

More female representation on Canada notes needed

More women should be represented in future designs for Canadian paper notes, according to results of an online survey by the Bank of Canada released Dec. 16, 2014.

Nearly 2,000 people from across Canada took the non-scientific survey in October and November 2014, according to a news release from the bank.

“There was considerable interest in how bank notes reflect Canada and many respondents said greater emphasis should be put on representing gender equality, multiculturalism and aboriginal culture. Others said bank notes should show iconic Canadian activities and achievements, landscapes and famous Canadians,” according to the news release.

The survey came in response to criticism from women’s groups because the bank removed the so-called Famous Five women on the $50 note in the most recent series of polymer bills.

A petition on calls for the bank to be more inclusive with the faces it shows on its money. Currently, the only woman shown on Canadian paper money is Queen Elizabeth, aside from an illustration of a nameless female scientist on the $100 bill.

The petition description points out that the last version of the $50 bill, which featured the Famous 5 and Therese Casgrain, was replaced by an image of an icebreaker when Canada's new polymer bank notes were introduced.

According to the petition, the Famous Five or The Valiant Five were five Canadian women who asked the Supreme Court of Canada to answer the question, "Does the word 'Persons' in Section 24 of the British North America Act, 1867, include female persons?"

These women sought to gain legal equality for women to be considered persons and thereby be eligible for elected office.

On April 24, 1928, Canada’s Supreme Court summarized its unanimous decision that women are not such “persons.” The judgment was overturned by the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council on Oct. 18, 1929, according to the petition.

“We call on the Bank of Canada to add women from Canadian history to our bank notes as soon as possible, and announce that all future series will feature females as well as males,” according to the petition organized by Merna Forster. “Bank notes that belong to all Canadians should depict a wider range of Canadians, of both genders as well as various ethnic origins. An all-male line-up on bank notes is not acceptable in Canada.”

A total of 60 percent of the Bank of Canada survey respondents were women 55 years of age and over. The top overall responses focused on seeing more gender equality and more female representation in paper money designs so as to better reflect the country.

The summary of comments, which was prepared by Pollara Strategic Insights, is available in a file on the bank’s website.

More from

U.S. Mint moves deadline for ordering 2014 commemorative coins

Sold out: 2014 American $1 Coin and Currency set, with 50,000 sets reported sold

How can someone successfully invest in rare coins?: 7 lessons in collecting

U.S. Mint officials hesitant to declare second sellout of 2014-P National Baseball Hall of Fame silver dollars

Gold Proof Kennedy half dollar sales edging toward maximum issue of 75,000 coins

Keep up with all of's news and insights by signing up for our free eNewslettersliking us on Facebook, and following us on Twitter. We're also on Instagram!

Community Comments