March 5, 2015
The time is long overdue for Americans to see a woman on the country’s paper currency. The non-profit, Women on $20s, has launched a campaign to replace President Andrew Jackson’s portrait on the $20 bill with one of a female hero.
“A woman’s place is on the money,” the Women on $20s campaign says. The group hopes to accomplish this by 2020, which marks the centennial of women’s suffrage in the United States. They’ve come up with a list of 15 women that it would like to see on the $20 bill instead of the 19th century statesman. The voting started earlier this week to coincide with Women’s History Month, and it will continue until they gathered at least 100,000 votes.
2020 is not soon enough. Here are a few reasons why a woman should replace Jackson on the $20 bill now:
1. It’s Time to Honor The Women Who Built This Nation
U.S. banknotes feature white men —predominantly but not exclusively presidents —who played a pivotal role in the founding or shaping of this nation. There are many examples of women who are part of this exact history but have not been celebrated like their male counterparts. The time has come to change that.
The list of the 15 women put forward by the organization include: Alice Paul, Betty Friedan, Shirley Chisholm, Sojourner Truth, Rachel Carson, Rosa Parks, Barbara Jordan, Margaret Sanger, Patsy Mink, Clara Barton, Harriet Tubman, Frances Perkins, Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
According to Women on 20s, the candidates were chosen from a field of 30 through a vigorous survey process involving more than a dozen women’s historians and academicians.
2. Women are a Majority in U.S
As of 2013, 50.8 percent of the U.S. population are women. Despite being a majority, women are still undervalued. According to the Harvard Business Review, women’s earned income is rising, growing at 8.1 percent versus 5.8 percent for men. Though it may still lag behind male earnings in total numbers, these trends have tremendous implications for women’s purchasing power in this country.
If women are spending more money than ever, it would be nice to see an accurate representation of them on a bill they willingly spend to boost the economy.
3. It Doesn’t Require Congressional Approval
It turns out that changing the lineup of dead presidents on paper currency is within the power of the Obama administration. Women On 20s intends to introduce a proposal to the White House in hopes that President Obama will take executive action.
Under a law passed in 1862, Congress gives the Secretary of the Treasury near-complete authority over the design and printing of paper currency, while Congress retains the power of coinage under the Constitution. The only requirements are that bills contain the inscription “In God We Trust” in an appropriate place, and only portraits of dead people may appear.
4. Andrew Jackson and His Dubious Legacy
Andrew Jackson was elected President of the U.S in 1829. His legacy includes the engineering of what some consider the “genocide” of Native Americans. He ordered the forced removal of at least 46,000 Native Americans from their lands, including members of the Cherokee, Muscogee, Seminole,Chickasaw, and Choctaw. They were forced to take the Trail of Tears, where many died.
Jackson should not be commemorated and he’s not necessarily a President this country should be proud of. It’s time to put someone this nation should be proud of on that bill, so vote now.
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