Sunday, April 5, 2015

Historical Women on United States Currency

Ever since I heard about the Women on 20's campaign last week, the idea has been on my mind. I have read several articles, as well as some of the comments on them, about women on currency. There is obviously a wide range of opinions about whether or not women should be on currency. For some reason some people seem to think that individuals who are featured on currency must be white males. Or if they are not, they must have done something in their life like cure cancer, end world hunger, AND end poverty. Simply doing one of those things would not be enough to get *gasp* a woman on U.S. currency. A woman?? INCONCEIVABLE!

Now, I have great respect for the men on our United States currency, were they perfect? Most definitely not, but each of them did things worthy of respect, some more than others, and they each helped shape the United States in one way or another. They played a vital part in shaping our country into one that is the "land of the free and the home of the brave", but sometimes it feels like there is an addendum to that *as long as you are a wealthy white male*. Should they be removed from currency and simply forgotten? No, but perhaps it is time for new heroes on our currency.

What is interesting is that if you look back 120 years ago, before women in the United States even had the right to vote, you can find Martha Washington, wife of President George Washington on the $1 bill. That's right folks, the United States actually put a woman on currency before women could vote! Even more "shocking" is that 20 years before Martha Washington showed up on the $1 bill another woman was featured on the $10 and $20 bills. And guess what, she was not related to a president in any way, in fact she was not even a white woman. Pocahontas was once upon a time, featured on United States currency.

I wonder if some people see this movement as saying that women are better than men, that those who are pushing for this want to "kick" off all the men on United States currency and replace them with women. For me, personally, it is definitely not about that. It is about recognizing that there should be equality for men and women, that women have done amazing wonderful things that have benefited our country. That women who have truly changed the world deserve to be recognized, just as men who have changed the world have been. It is showing our society that we recognize that men are not better than women and that women are not better than women. That society benefits from an equal partnership between men and women, and that this is just a step in that direction.

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