As a white,wealthy land and slave owner who played a large part in ruining the lives of thousands of American Indians during his presidency, why is Andrew Jackson still on our twenty-dollar bill? We wish we had an answer for you that wasn't simply “patriarchal tradition,” but unfortunately we don't. On the bright side, though, it seems like things might be looking up, thanks to one smart lady:
Barbara Oritz Howard, a previous canvasser for Hillary Clinton, began to pay attention to the parts of her life that were seemingly male dominated when she realized U.S. money doesn’t feature women–a fact that hasn’t changed since 1929. In 2012, sixty-two year old Howard sent out an e-mail to female friends asking which lady they would put on a bill if they had the power to. This caught the attention of journalist Susan Ades, who saw some serious possibilities.
Now, the two women are working together on a campaign that's aiming to get a gal on U.S. money by 2020–the centennial of women’s suffrage. When getting started, it made sense for Howard and Ades to settle on the idea of changing the twenty dollar bill. Not only does it keep with the common goal that united them, but it would also eliminate Andrew Jackson (who actually hated the U.S. federal bank) from the face of one of our most used bills.
And we have some interesting news: it will not require congressional or presidential action to make this huge step happen, it's actually all up to us! You can vote for your favorite candidate on the Women on 20s website. With growing numbers of support, the hope is that a finalist can be presented to President Obama within the next year!
In the meantime, we've made our own list of ladies we’d like to rep when we make that green:
Birth control activist Margaret Sanger believed no woman was free unless she had control of her body.
Mary Wollstonecraft, British, argued that women only appeared inferior to men intellectually because they had little access to education.
bell hooks is an American author who focused on race and gender equality.
We’d gladly put Maya Angelou on a twenty because this author of "Phenomenal Woman" helped us see the beauty in ourselves and others.
Malala Yousafzai may not be American (or dead), but her contributions to the empowerment of women is undeniable.
Harriet Tubman led slaves to safety during a time of dangerous oppression. She's literally the exact opposite of Andrew Jackson and that's even better.
Eleanor Roosevelt practically led the country when F.D.R. became too sick to lead. Honor her? Most definitely!
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