Women on the Money

HALI MCKLINLEY LESTER

U.S. citizens have been debating whether we should change the face on our paper money. Currently, men dominate image on  U.S. money, and some Americans are calling for a change. They want to see a more diverse representation of the great figures in American history. When Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced the upcoming redesign on the $10 bill, he also announced that a woman would finally occupy the center spot.

 

Originally claiming he would choose the woman for the bill by the end of 2015, Lew has pushed the decision back to sometime in 2016. The announcement that a woman would now be represented on the $10 bill generated a great deal of discussion. In the September 2015 GOP debate, the moderators closed the debate by asking the candidates which American woman they would want to see on the $10 bill. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump suggested Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks, whereas Jeb Bush suggested Margaret Thatcher and John Kasich offered Mother Teresa, neither of whom are American.

 

Second-year biology student Kayley Erickson hopes to see either Eleanor Roosevelt or Harriet Tubman on the new note. “Eleanor Roosevelt is one of the most admirable first ladies because she was outspoken about the issues that mattered to her. She defined the role of first lady,” Erickson said. “She was no longer a silent public figure supporting the President like the past first ladies, but a public figure capable of inciting change and representing causes much like her husband.”

 

Yet Erickson also supports putting Harriet Tubman on the bill as a way of representing our nation’s racial diversity. “Her story is almost as much a legend ingrained in American history lessons as those of the current men our bills and coins.”

 

Although Sacagawea is represented on the silver dollar, third-year history and political science student Daniel Bowen hopes to see her on the $10 bill. “Nobody really uses the gold or silver dollar, so it would be great to see her represented on paper money.”

 

The move to take Alexander Hamilton off the $10 note has also provoked controversy: Many protesters argue Andrew Jackson, who resides on the $20 note, is the one who should be replaced by a woman. While Hamilton is lauded as an immigrant abolitionist who helped shape the financial structure of the U.S., Jackson was an unremarkably racist president who owned slaves and treated Native Americans poorly. Moreover, the hip-hop musical “Hamilton” has become immensely popular, especially for its casting of African-American and Latino actors in the Founding Fathers roles. Thus, the removal of Hamilton from currency, rather than Jackson, prompted some people to rescind their support of putting a woman on the $10 note.

The new $10 bill is expected to debut in 2020, on the 100th anniversary of the nineteenth amendment, which gave women the right to vote. Now, we wait for the reveal of the significant American woman who will occupy the position of honor on the new bill.

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