Women’s History Month: Put A Woman on the $20!

…because why not, amirite?  I’ve always loved really cool money.  Because ours is so boring.  Colorful, imaginative, and informative currency just seems to be the way to do it.  Like the CFP Franc, the currency of French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Wallis and Futuna have women on them. This bill shows both a French Polynesian Tahitian woman and a New Caledonian Melanesian woman wearing hibiscus flowers. Or what about Australian currency? The $20 note colorfully depicts Mary Reibey, a woman who became known for her work in education and charity.  The $50 note is in honor of Edith Cowan, the first female member of an Australian Parliament.  And the $100 note shows Dame Nellie Melba, a famous soprano who dedicated herself to fundraising for charities in Australia during World War I.  Canada is another example of currency done right (in my opinion).  The notes are bright, fun, informative, and always changing.  Queen Elizabeth II graces the new $20 note.  These are just but a few examples of the different currency around the world.  There is one more thing that these bills have in common, if you haven’t noticed by now.  They all have women on them.  If you Google “currency with women on it” you will find many more examples from all over the world. A new campaign, founded by Barbara Ortiz Howard, called Women on 20s, is trying to change the boy’s club that is (and always has been) US currency.  After President Obama came out publically in support of the idea of putting a woman on our currency, Ortiz Howard put a team together and started Women on 20s. The goal is to have the new $20 (with a woman on it) printed by 2020, the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment.  The process to make the change is not that daunting, which makes this goal all that more attainable.  And the $20 bill seems to be the perfect bill to make the change on.  As the Women on 20s website explains: WHY BOOT ANDREW JACKSON FROM THE $20? TWO REASONS THAT ARE GAINING TRACTION:

  1. Andrew Jackson was celebrated for his military prowess, for founding the Democratic party and for his simpatico with the common man. But as the seventh president of the United States, he also helped gain Congressional passage of the "Indian Removal Act of 1830" that drove Native American tribes of the Southeastern United States off their resource-rich land and into Oklahoma to make room for white European settlers. Commonly known as the Trail of Tears, the mass relocation of Indians resulted in the deaths of thousands from exposure, disease and starvation during the westward migration. Not okay.
  1. Some argue that because Jackson was a fierce opponent of the central banking system and favored gold and silver coin or "hard money" over paper currency, he is an ironic choice for immortalization on our money.

This seems like sound reasoning to me. So what can you do to help?  In the spirit of celebrating women’s history month and continuing to bring women’s historical accomplishments out of the woodwork, head over to the Women on 20s web voting page.  Share the word with your friends and family, and support women’s history!