By Chan’Cellore Makanjuola
For those of you who have taken the time to study the money in your wallets or pockets, you may have noticed the obvious: All the people on our current dollar bills are men.
So, you may ask, what is wrong with that? Well, for one nonprofit organization, known as Women on 20s, it is time the United States put a woman on U.S. paper currency. Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea are already featured on dollar coins, the latter of which, is still being minted today. But both coins have long been an unpopular mean of monetary exchange.
The Women on 20s organization wants a woman on the twenty-dollar bill because the year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote.
“It seems fitting to commemorate that milestone by voting to elevate women to a place that is today reserved exclusively for the men who shaped American history,” reads the nonprofits website. “That place is on our paper money.”
Currently, Andrew Jackson, our nation’s seventh president, is the face of the twenty-dollar bill but many do not believe he is worthy of the honor.
During his presidency, Jackson signed into law the Indian Removal Act, which displaced thousands of Native Americans from their land to specially designated areas. Historians estimate that more than four thousand Native Americans died during their journey, known as the Trail of Tears, to the “Indian Territory” they were forced to move to. Jackson was also strongly opposed to paper currency, preferring gold and silver coins instead, which makes his place on our paper currency ironic.
According to the Washington Post, even the US Treasury Department is unsure why Jackson’s face is on the bill.
Jackson’s portrait was selected to be on the twenty-dollar bill in 1928 and has stayed there ever since. Despite some achievements during his presidency, Jackson remains a controversial figure among many Americans today.
I have become so accustomed to seeing Jackson’s face on the twenty-dollar bill to the point that I would find it odd for anyone else to be there. In fact, I am so used to all of the male figures on our current paper currency that I never really considered the lack of female figures on them until the recent discussion came about. However, I do support women’s equality and I believe gaining equal rights for women is an issue that men, women, and lawmakers should continue to address and fight for.
So far, the Women on 20s group has narrowed their top 15 list of female candidates that could be placed on the bill down to four. These candidates are Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and Cherokee chief, Wilma Mankiller. More than 750,000 votes have been cast on the Women on 20s website in favor of designs that feature the female candidates on the bill, according to the Huffington post.
President Obama has appeared open to the idea and some lawmakers have even introduced bills proposing to replace Jackson with a woman. Ultimately, the choice to replace Jackson will be left up to the Secretary of Treasury, unless an Act of Congress specifies someone.
Whether or not Andrew Jackson is removed from the twenty-dollar bill, I am glad that organizations, such as Women on 20s, are continuing to fight for women’s equality. Having a female on our paper currency will be a great achievement in our nation’s history, as it will respect the major contribution that females have made in the past and continue to make in our present society.
For more information on the nonprofit’s efforts, visit www.womenon20s.org.