You don't need me to tell you that Jane Austen had serious literary chops before she became the first female author to grace paper money in the U.K., but now I hope you'll be pleased to learn that the Jane Austen £10 notes are doing a lot of good for women's charities. People in the U.K. are donating their #Austentenners to worthy causes, such as Safe in Sussex, Brighton Oasis, and the Jane Austen's House Museum.
The fight to get Jane Austen on the U.K. £10 note took four long years of campaigning from Brazilian-born British feminist author Caroline Criado-Perez, who was incensed after the Bank of England announced that it intended to replace prison-reformer Elizabeth Fry, then the only non-royal on U.K. paper money — the £5 note, in this case — with former Prime Minister Winston Churchill in May 2017. Criado-Perez's campaign did not stop Churchill's placement on the banknotes, but it did secure a place for another woman in English wallets.
Following a long legal battle, the campaign succeeded in compelling the Bank of England to place Austen on the tenner, but Criado-Perez's troubles were far from over. Both she and a prominent supporter, Labour MP Stella Creasy, became the targets of gender-based harassment on Twitter. Several of the people who sent death threats to the women were brought up on charges.
After Criado-Perez wrote in Evening Standard that she would be "donating [her] first Austen tenner to [her] local women’s shelter," others opted to do the same. At the time of this writing, several woman-centric charities have tweeted their thanks for Austenites' support, including Bloody Good Period, which provides menstrual products to refugees with vaginas. A few other organizations benefiting from #Austentenner donations: Fawcett Society, Rape Crisis Tyneside & Northumberland, and Women's Aid.
If you live in the U.S., and have no plans to hop across the pond anytime soon, don't worry. You can — and should! — still get in on the donation game, because $10 goes a long way toward helping people in need. Consider donating to your local rape-crisis center, HIV/AIDS health care provider, Planned Parenthood, LGBTQIAP youth resource, or any other progressive cause in your area. You can also send your $10 to hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean or earthquake recovery for Mexico City. Let me know where you plan to send your Alexander Hamilton donation by dropping a line on Twitter!