Clydesdale Bank Chief Operating Officer Debbie Crosbie has become the first woman to sign a Scottish banknote. The new run of 30 million £20 notes - worth £600 million - features the iconic images of the historic mill house at New Lanark on one side and Robert the Bruce on the other. The hologram on the front of the note is also of Robert the Bruce. The banknote has Debbie Crosbie's signature clearly visible.
Ms Crosbie joined Clydesdale Bank in 1997 and has been an executive director since May 2014. A new study has shown that gender inequality starts at an early age, with girls expecting to earn less than boys when they start work.
Research involving more than 3,000 teenagers found that girls believed they would earn £7,000 a year less than boys in their future careers. Of course, although there is much to be done to provide equal opportunities for boys and girls entering banking, it was only a generation ago when female staff were discouraged from sitting professional banking qualifications - and pay scales (based on age) for male and female staff clearly illustraded the male staff salaries rising faster than those for females.
Bank of England notes had their first female Chief Cashier signature in 1999, but the Scottish ones have been an all-male preserve until now. Only Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland and Clydesdale Bank are still allowed to issue bank notes in Scotland. It was Sir Walter Scott in the 19th century who famously persuaded the UK Parliament to allow these Scottish banks to continue to issue bank notes.
Reverse of the banknote showing a drawing of the mill house at New Lanark. New Lanark was founded in 1786 by David Dale, who built cotton mills and housing for the mill workers. Dale sold the mills, lands and village in the early 19th century to a partnership that included his son-in-law Robert Owen. Owen, who became mill manager in 1800, was an industrialist who carried on his father-in-law's philanthropic approach to industrial working and who subsequently became an influential social reformer. New Lanark, with its social and welfare programmes, is important historically because of its role in the developing industrial revolution in the UK and their place in the history of urban planning. Owen found the conditions unsatisfactory and resolved to improve the workers' lot. He paid particular attention to the needs of the 500 or so children living in the village and opened the first infants' school in Britain in 1817. New Lanark became celebrated throughout Europe, with many leading royals, statesmen and reformers visiting the mills. They were astonished to find a clean, healthy industrial environment with a content, vibrant workforce and a prosperous, viable business venture all rolled into one. Owen left Britain to start the settlement of New Harmony in the US.
It has been estimated that over 400,000 people visit the village each year. The importance of New Lanark has been recognised by UNESCO as one of Scotland's six World Heritage Sites, the others being Edinburgh Old and New Towns, Heart of Neolithic Orkney, St Kilda, the Antonine Wall and the Forth Bridge.
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