The trailblazing woman featured on the third edition of China’s 1 yuan bill died Tuesday, domestic media reported. She was 90 years old.
Liang Jun, who is seated atop a tractor on the back of the banknote, was also the country’s first female tractor driver. She was widely viewed as a symbol of Mao Zedong’s popular proclamation, “Women hold up half the sky,” often invoked to urge women to work outside the domestic sphere.
Born in a small town in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, Liang was given away to a wealthy family who adopted her at the age of 12 as a future bride under an archaic tradition. However, she managed to break free from the arrangement and married a man she met at school.
At the age of 18, Liang joined a tractor-driving course in which she was the only woman in a class of 70-plus men, plowing the way for others to follow in her tracks. In 1950, China’s first female tractor-driving corps was established and named after her.
Liang’s legacy will live on in the third-generation 1 yuan notes, printed and circulated between 1962 and 2000. (Image: Taobao)