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Canada soon to commemorate its women: Finance Minister supports petition to print faces of legendary women on banknotes

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January 17
4:25 AM 2016

The long-standing debate of gender discrimination in Canada seems to have arrived at a decision in the form of printing faces of its women who have made a difference historically, on its banknotes.

Historian Merna Foster had been hard at work to ensure the noteworthy women of Canada get recognition. She was the one to come up with a petition in 2013 requesting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to honor women by printing their faces on dollar bills. As mentioned in CBC News, she told Canadian Geographic in December 2014, "I realized that the only Canadian women to ever make it onto the bank notes had been removed. On the back of the $50 bill we had the statues of the Famous Five from The Persons Case; they were replaced by an icebreaker."

As CTV News reports, Foster's petition stems from the fact that the $50 bill once featured the five Alberta women who dared to challenge the government to consider women 'persons' under the British North America Act. But in 2001, these brave women were replaced by Canadian Coast Guard research ship, Amundsen, along with scenes from the north.

The historian's petition that has gained immense popularity by way of support and signatures, is still ongoing but her perseverance seems to be paying off, as the central bank has recommended the same to Finance Minister Bill Morneau. To reflect gender parity in his country, Morneau has stated "The Bank of Canada regularly does consultations on the people and the pictures that are on our bank note. I would be strongly supportive of a recommendation from the Bank of Canada to put an iconic woman, or women, on the bank note," according to Bloomberg.

2016 seems to be the ideal year for commemorating women this way, as it marks the 100-year anniversary of first voting rights for certain women in Canada and Manitoba. Foster had rightly remarked about there being no dearth of noble women but when it came to seeing their images in literature, books and walls, the men seemed to have got there first.

Some of the popular names that the petition supporters have pushed forward include Nellie McClung, the famous social activist; Viola Desmond, a civil rights icon; Dr. Jennie Trout, first woman to practice medicine in Canada; and Thanadelthur, an influential Chipewyan Dene who contributed greatly in fur trade. Currently, the bills feature Sir John A. MacDonald, Sir Robert Borden, William Lyon Mackenzie King, Sir Wilfred Laurier, along with Queen Elizabeth. The commemorative bill is slated to release in July 2017. So it remains to be seen which of the wonderful women create history by becoming a face of Canada's paper currency. 

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