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Author Austen chosen to bridge English currency gender gap

| Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 9:36 p.m.

LONDON — The Bank of England swallowed its pride and overcame its perceived prejudice Wednesday by designating Jane Austen as the new face of the 10-pound note, bowing to public outrage over the possibility that only male historical figures — apart from the royal-born Queen Elizabeth II — would be represented on British currency.

The beloved novelist will probably appear on bank notes starting in 2017, a year after the portrait of 19th-century prison reformer Elizabeth Fry is to be phased out from the five-pound note. The announcement in April that Fry would be replaced by wartime leader Winston Churchill, thus eliminating any women from Britain's past on its bank notes, sparked protests and an online petition that drew more than 30,000 signatures.

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