Designers of New UK Passport Shrug Off Accusations of Sexism

By Aatif Sulleyman on at

The new design for the British passport has been revealed, and people are already complaining about it. The revamped burgundy book, which will start rolling out from next month, features famous British landmarks and figures, though only two of them -- mathematician Ada Lovelace and architect Elisabeth Scott -- are female. By contrast, seven men have made the cut.

People have been working on the new passport designs for over two years, and it’s amazing that they never thought this imbalance would cause any issues, especially after the banknote backlash felt by the Bank of England a couple of years back. Jane Austen came out on top in that round.

"It wasn't something where we said, 'Let's set out to only have two women,'" said Mark Thomson, the director general of the Passport Office. "Whenever we do these things there is always someone who wants their favourite rock band or icon in the book. We've got 16 pages, a very finite space. We like to feel we've got a good representative view celebrating some real icons of the UK - Shakespeare, Constable and of course Elisabeth Scott herself."

The new version of the passport is said to be the most secure ever, thanks to the use of UV and IR light, as well as special inks and watermarks. Whether it helps dozy immigration people actually recognise you from your picture remains to be seen. [BBC]