As always, I’ve cut some material out of these quotes. Feel free to read the full article, or just to rest assured that I haven’t left out anything significant.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that a woman will be featured on a new $10 bill rolling out in 2020. Ultimately, it’s up to the Treasury Department to decide which woman should be the first to grace U.S. paper currency. Their only requirements are that 1) that the candidate is a woman 2) who is dead and 3) resembles the bill’s theme of “democracy.”
To be fair, we decided on our monetary representatives quite a long time ago. It’s entirely possible that there are people more worthy of being enshrined in our currency. And so long as the person is as deserving, I don’t see why a woman shouldn’t be on our money! Though, not sure why we’re focusing on females specifically, but whatever-let’s see our worthy candidates!
The good thing is, the Obama administration says it will listen to our ideas for which woman should go on the $10 bill. We took that as a cue to give them ours, pulled from a viral campaign this spring, a Washington Post reader poll, and from our own brains. We hereby formally submit them to the Treasury for consideration.There are three iconic women who automatically top anyone’s list
Harriet Tubman, one of the most famous abolitionists of her time for her journeys on the Underground Railroad. She won the Women on the $20 campaign nomination.
Rosa Parks, the iconic civil rights activist
Susan B. Anthony, women’s suffrage movement leader who was on the $1 coin until 1981
I was going to do a bit where I was shocked, but I’m not. I mean, Harriet Tubman freed a grand total of 70 slaves! Which sounds good, until you consider that Abraham Lincoln freed…uh, 4 million? Abraham Lincoln had help, but so did Harriet Tubman-the Underground Railroad was a system of secret pathways and safe houses, and was mapped and made by…uh, Not Harriet Tubman. Various counts estimate that it moved thousands of slaves a year, so Harriet wasn’t the only one fighting the good fight, and wasn’t even necessarily the best conductor of the underground railroad (as it were)
Rosa Parks did a cool thing and some civil rights organizing, but she wasn’t the only one to protest on buses; she just happened to be in the right time and the right place. Good for her, but 1 small act, even as a flashpoint, is just not that impressive.
Susan B. Anthony is the most plausible candidate, but she never really accomplished anything truly significant; rather, she built up a movement which essentially did. Her, I might be willing to hear arguments for, but these would be heated arguments and I would need to look very deeply into her before entering these.
But there are plenty of other civil rights activists and women suffrage leaders who should also be consideredElizabeth Cady Stanton, an early women’s rights activist and abolitionist
Sojourner Truth, a black women’s rights activist and abolitionist
Fannie Lou Hamer, suffrage and civil rights activist
Alice Paul, suffrage leader
Eh. Again, arguable, and I’ve never heard of some of these. But let’s move on-the real madness begins.
And how about these pioneering scientistsSally Ride, the first American woman in space
Annie Jump Cannon, who created a system to classify stars that astronomers use today
Amelia Earhart, the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean
And here’s where everything begins to crumble.
Sally Ride is not more deserving than, say, Neil Armstrong. Amelia Earhart is not more deserving than, say, Charles Lindbergh. Annie Jump Cannon is not more deserving than, say, Mendeleev (inventor of the periodic table, a system to classify elements that everyone uses today). Sure, it may have been somewhat harder for the women, due to sexism, but has anyone ever suggested that Charles Lindbergh, Neil Armstrong, or Mendeleev should be on the money? And keep in mind that the first two proved something was possible, period (flying across the Atlantic, flying to the moon), which the women didn’t. ‘First Woman to X’ is moronic.
These are America’s first ladies who should make the short list
Eleanor Roosevelt, human rights activist and wife of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She is leading in a Wonkblog reader poll for the honor.
Betty Ford, the wife of Gerald Ford whose honesty about her addictions helped make drug treatment more socially acceptable
Abigail Adams, the nation’s second first lady, was really the first to take an active role in politics and policy
Why not the husbands of these ladies? Are we meant to believe they contributed less? Eleanor is somewhat viable, but again…Franklin Roosevelt? 3 terms, the New Deal, WWII?
Speaking of politics, these women were the first of their kinds
Frances Perkins, FDR’s secretary of labor and the first woman appointed to the U.S. Cabinet
Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress
Patsy Mink, the first woman of color elected to the House of Representatives, and the first Asian American elected to Congress
Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman elected to both chambers of Congress
Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to Congress
Barbara Jordan, a politician who was the first black woman in the South to be elected to the House of Representatives
Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of Cherokee Nation
Hehe, Wilma Mankiller. Yeah, that’s all I have to say for this ridiculous list – first woman X is irrelevant, always and forever.
And outside of Washington, there are some pretty amazing women we’d like to draw the government’s attention toEmma Lazarus, the author of the poem on the Statue of Liberty
Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts
Jane Addams, a Nobel Prize winner and an important figure in the “settlement house” movement that gave rise to the country’s social safety net
Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross
Betsy Ross, who made the first American flag in 1776
Hellen Keller, the first deafblind person to earn a bachelor’s degree. Keller is on the 2003 Alabama quarter.
Sacagawea, a key figure in the Lewis and Clark expedition who also had a stint on the $1 coin
I’ve never heard of that poem, and I doubt it’s relevant. There’s not that much proof that Betsy sewed the flag, and she definitely didn’t design it. Hellen Keller is an inspiring story and an incredible accomplishment, but there are few deaf-blind people and they are unlikely to contribute much to society, so there is that. Clara Barton…is actually respectable. Also, no one has considered the founder of the Boy Scouts, any male Nobel Prize winner, or Lewis / Clarke for the money, so there’s that.
These authors and playwrights are awesome tooMaya Angelou (AP Photo/Press-Register)
Betty Friedan, feminist author of the Feminine Mystique
Rachel Carson, a marine biologist who wrote the hugely influential environmental book Silent Spring
Maya Angelou, famed poet and civil rights activists
Alice Childress, an award-winning African-American playwright
And here are some more outside-the-box picks we think should be consideredAyn Rand (AP Photo)
Ayn Rand, the author of Atlas Shrugged who retains huge influence on the modern-day libertarian movement
Margaret Sanger, who opened the first birth control clinic in the U.S. and is considered the founder of Planned Parenthood
Never heard of any man writing an influential book getting nominated for the money, ever.
Edit: Also, why is Margaret Sanger so consistently represented sans information about her being a nazi-style eugenicist?
Look, I wouldn’t mind a general re-evaluation of who we put on our money. I think it’s important to retain our old standards, which are more geared towards people who changed the course of our country for the better, rather than individual acts of heroism, because those are so varied, and while awesome, are ultimately not that influential. And sure, women worked harder and set an example for the women that come after. But those factors need to be taken at the level they deserve to be-i.e. medium-to-small importance. A suffragette, or Clara Barton? Maybe. ‘First woman to X’? Get out. If we believe that putting a woman on the money would send a message to women, let’s be careful that the message we send isn’t ‘Women’s achievements matter more, just because’.