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Banknote-able Women: International Women’s Day

Categories : Cash is a public good, Cash is a symbol of national sovereignty
March 8, 2019
Tags : Banknote/Note, Cash
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s talk about the remarkable women who have led positive change in their countries and their legacies to be featured on legal tender.
Communication Team / Equipo de Comunicación

This post is also available in: Spanish

Many might  associate money to portraits of men. Yet, the tides are changing and as we celebrate International Women’s Day, CashEssentials would like to highlight the value women bring to their respective communities — and currencies. Let’s travel back in time and pay tribute to some remarkable women who have left a note-able mark in the world – in true banknote fashion, of course.



Viola Desmond bravely walked into Canadian history when she first entered New Glasgow’s Roseland Theatre and sat in the ‘whites-only’ area. The year was 1946 and people of colour were, to put it quite frankly, suppressed to darkness. But that didn’t stop this successful Nova Scotian businesswoman from refusing police orders to move to the balcony section – where Black customers, like her, were expected to sit.

Viola’s act of defiance ignited the fight for inclusivity and diversity that in 2018, Canada commemorated her as the country’s newest $10 bill, making her the first ever woman to appear on Canadian currency.


Oppressively controlled by Dominican Republic dictator, Rafael Trujillo, Dominicans were living a totalitarian nightmare. In a daring attempt to wake the nation free from its burdens, the Mirabel Sisters – Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa – brutally sacrificed their lives to end Trujillo’s. Now largely known as “the Mariposas”, these three ladies have rightfully spread their wings in becoming the nation’s symbol of women.

At the end of 2007, the Dominican Republic issued a 200 Peso Oro banknote with a portrait of the three sisters, paying tribute to their fearless efforts. Their resilience and determination continued to spread throughout the world, triggering the United Nations to designate International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in their honor, which is celebrated every 25th of November.


Marie Curie is known by the world as a prominent scientist who achieved tremendous work in developing nuclear energy and radiotherapy for cancer treatment. In 1903, Marie together with her husband Pierre, were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for their work on radioactivity while in 1911, she won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her work on polonium and radium. These achievements made her the first woman to ever receive the Nobel Prize, and the only woman who to date, has received two.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Marie Curie’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the National Bank of Poland issued a 20 złoty banknote with her image that was put into circulation in 2011.

These remarkable ladies shows us the note-able value women bring to the world and that in supporting a woman we are supporting what it means to be human.

This post is also available in: Spanish