International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It is also a day that calls attention to the different issues women still face due to gender inequality and encourages people to mobilize for women’s rights and gender equality.
International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world, with some countries declaring March as Women’s Month. It was officially recognized by the United Nations in 1977. However, many labor and women’s rights movement groups have been celebrating their own National Women’s Day at the turn of the 20th century, especially in North America and Europe.
The first International Women’s Day was celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland on 19 March 1911. The current date, March 8, was adopted to commemorate the women’s strike in 1917 which eventually led to the abdication of the Russian czar and the dissolution of the monarchy. The strike commenced on February 23 on the Julian calendar, which translated to March 8 on the Gregorian calendar.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, let us highlight revolutionary women who are featured on banknotes.
Queen Elizabeth II is one of the most prolific figures featured on banknotes around the world. Her portrait is featured not only on British pound banknotes but also on most of the Commonwealth member’s banknotes. For instance, the 5 Australian dollar note from 2016 bears her portrait in front and the Parliament House at the back.
More Banknotes Featuring Noble Women
Another political figure that is featured in the banknote is Eva Duarte de Peron of Argentina. Though she never ran in an official government position, she still served as the First Lady of Argentina from June 1946 to July 1952. She is featured on the 100 Argentinian peso note that was issued from 2013 to 2017.
Corazon “Cory” Aquino is another political figure that is honored. She is the first female president of the Philippines and is also one of the first elected female leaders in Asia. She was a prominent figure in the 1986 People Power Revolution that deposed the tyrant Ferdinand Marcos. She is featured with her husband, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., on the 500 Philippine piso note.
Kate Wilson Sheppard is New Zealand’s most famous suffragist. She is the leader of the woman suffrage movement in New Zealand, the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote in 1893. She also led women’s suffrage movements in England and the United States. Her portrait is highlighted on the 10 New Zealand dollar note.
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz is a prolific Mexican author and philosopher. She is the first published feminist of the New World and the most outstanding writer of the Spanish American colonial period. She is honored as a national icon of Mexico and is featured on the latest 100 Mexican peso bill.