German challenger bank N26, to celebrate International Women’s Day, launched Balance the Banknotes AR effect for smartphones on Instagram and Facebook, showing inspirational women on euros and dollars.
Balance the Banknotes AR effect is designed to highlight the gender imbalance in the banking sector. Even though women make up more than 50% of the financial services workforce yet only around 20% are in leadership roles.
In February, the U.S. Senators tried to push the redesign of the $20 currency note with a portrait of Harriet Tubman, a leading abolitionist, after the previous government stopped the effort earlier.
“Though women make up half of the population, only 12 percent of bills featuring a person are women, globally, and that includes Queen Elizabeth, who appears on every piece of currency in the Commonwealth.” – Stephanie Balint, Interim General Manager, N26, in the U.S.
“N26 is known for disrupting the world of finance and banking with technology, and this is our way of calling attention to this inequality, calling for balance while showcasing the achievements of outstanding women in history at the same time.” – Stephanie Balint
Balance the Banknotes AR effect was produced in acknowledgment to this year’s International Women’s Day #ChooseToChallenge campaign theme.
“As a tech company, naturally we chose to use technology to raise awareness of the lack of gender parity on cash notes. We wanted everybody to be able to participate in raising awareness of this important issue from the comfort of their own home.” – Balint.
N26 partnered with Ommy Akhe of Autonommy and Facebook to build the AR effect. Users have to scan a $1, $5, or a $10 dollar currency note using the Instagram or Facebook camera, and N26’s augmented reality effect will superimpose the image of 1 of 5 notable women onto each of the notes.
“One of the challenges was deciding who to feature on the banknotes. While platform restrictions limited the number of women we could showcase within a single effect, there are innumerable women whose achievements are worth celebrating, well beyond the few we chose for this effect.” – Balint.
Balance the Banknotes campaign highlights noteworthy women internationally. In the U.S, it shows Grace Hopper, Sojourner Truth, and Rosa Parks on the dollar note. While internationally, it shows Emmy Noether and Emilia Pardo Bazan on the euro.
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