The recently unveiled design for the new United Kingdom passport aims to celebrate the nation’s art and culture over the past 500 years. It features a host of famous artists, inventors, architects, mathematicians and writers. So far the new design sounds great, that is until you find out only 2 of the famous cultural contributors included are female! You would have thought that in the past 500 years more than 2 women have made significant contributions to UK culture!
Don‚Äôt get me wrong, Ada Lovelace and Elisabeth Scott are great choices and so are all the men incorporated into the design, but it doesn‚Äôt seem a fair representation at all! Where are J. K. Rowling, Mary Quant, Barbara Hepworth, or Virginia Woolf? Where are the Bronte sisters, Carol Ann Duffy, or Zaha Hadid? So many British women have made huge contributions to UK culture over the past 500 years and yet so few of them have been acknowledged in this supposed celebration of our nation‚Äôs art, music, and literature.
Ok so it‚Äôs just a passport, does it really matter who is denoted within its pages when really the only time you ever flick through it is waiting at the airport for your delayed flight? Well for me it does matter; my passport is a part of my identity, it says a little something about the country I belong to, it provides clues as to what makes us the nation we are today and what we hold dear. I don‚Äôt believe the UK to be a place that does not appreciate the contributions of all its peoples whether they are male or female; so why is this the message conveyed on the newly created pages? I want to hand over a passport at customs which makes me feel proud to be British, that shouts to other nations that we value our women and girls; sadly, the new design falls slightly short of my expectations.
Girl Museum Inc.