Jane Austen’s Face May Grace British Banknote

The proposal emerged after complaints about the dearth of women appearing on the bills

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A portrait of Jane Austen from an 1870 engraving.

Move over, Darwin. Jane Austen’s visage is set to replace the father of evolution’s on £10 notes soon. The Pride and Prejudice author, who died in 1817, would become the third woman whose likeness will have appeared on a British banknote since the Bank of England began putting the images of historical figures on currency in 1970.

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The English novelist is “quietly waiting in the wings,” outgoing governor Sir Mervyn King told the British Treasury select committee, according to a report in the Guardian. New governor Mark Carney, who is set to take office on July 1, will make the final decision.

After the bank announced Sir Winston Churchill as the replacement for prison reformer Elizabeth Fry on the £5 in April, feminist groups threatened legal action under the 2010 Equality Act. Their concern: Not a single famous woman would be represented on pound notes other than the Queen.

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Led by Caroline Criado-Perez, co-founder of The Women’s Room, an organization working towards the legitimacy of female experts in the media, the protest is centered on legal action against the Bank’s opaque selection process. The group’s online petition, which has nearly 30,000 signatures, calls to end “a sexist culture where women are routinely overlooked, undermined and abused.”

Another supporter, parliament member Stella Creasy, wrote a letter cosigned by 45 other officials suggesting other female candidates for banknotes, including women’s rights advocate Mary Wollstonecraft. “Nobody’s suggesting that Winston Churchill doesn’t deserve to be on the note. We’re simply saying that if women aren’t represented, it suggests that they don’t make a contribution to society,” Creasy told the BBC.