The newly issued 20 lei ($4.50) note now bears the image of World War One lieutenant Ecaterina Teodoroiu, representing the first time a named woman has appeared on Romanian banknotes.

Janina Nectara, a prominent presence at Milan and Paris fashion shows, initiated the campaign titled Femei pe Bancnote in 2018. Her goal was to persuade Romania’s central bank to depict a woman on the country’s currency, the Leu. Nectara’s campaign suggested a list of 100 female figures, including scientists, doctors, artists, and professors, as potential candidates for this recognition.

Ecaterina Teodoroiu, born in 1894, served as a nurse during World War I and later became a combatant after losing her four brothers in battle. Her courage and valor earned her commendations, and she tragically died on the front lines in 1917 at the age of 23. Nectara believed it was crucial to establish a permanent example of women’s historical contributions and provide equal recognition for their achievements.

Janina Nectara, a renowned fashion figure with a career spanning from Fashion Wire Daily in Paris to writing for multiple Vogue editions and hosting her own national TV fashion show, has been named one of Gucci’s Chime for Change ambassadors. She played a pivotal role in pushing for this change and has garnered a following of 95,000 on Instagram.

The central bank of Romania, which has an all-male board, is further celebrating Ecaterina Teodoroiu’s contributions through an exhibit dedicated to her, showcasing personal items such as her bullet-dented helmet and blood-stained munitions bag. This initiative is an important step toward recognizing the vital roles women have played in the nation’s history and encouraging equal merit for their contributions.

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