Why is women on currency a political issue?

    The concept of getting a woman on one of the paper bills of the U.S. Treasury has been one on the minds of many government officials for a while, and citizens have been vouching for a change.

The United States Treasury has been looking for new representatives to be the face on a crisp new ten-dollar bill, and Chatham University had the pleasure of an alumna being in the running for the position. Rachel Carson was one of the women nominated to be featured on the redesigned paper money, but she did not make the final cut for the four top contenders.

    While the concept of a Chatham graduate being on a ten-dollar bill is exciting and forward, a woman in general is a step in the right direction for those seeking feminist equality everywhere. However, the political nature of this decision is at the core of the debate. The debate was brought up at the most recent GOP Debate, and candidates appeared flustered and confused when they were asked which woman they would like to see on currency. Two candidates, Jeb Bush and John Kasich, did not even choose American citizens. Bush chose Margaret Thatcher and Kasich chose Mother Teresa. There is an obvious gap between what is feminist and what is American in today’s politics.

    GOP candidate Carly Fiorina said she would keep the currency as it is. As an audience, we cannot presume to know the thought behind her reasoning, but we can witness a woman saying something that would, in some lights, be portrayed as an anti-feminist argument. In defense of Fiorina, she is the only female Republican candidate running for President in the 2016 election, and she is often overshadowed by the more controversial candidates, such as Donald Trump. As a woman in a mainly male-dominated field, she is cast aside as a secondary character in the election season.

    Women on money is not a foreign concept for the United States, considering at points in time both Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea were on coins. Yet somehow, paper money is a more validating stance. Some women who are in the running are Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, and Eleanor Roosevelt, to name just a few. These women had an extreme impact on the advancement of women, and the idea of putting them on money is going to give whoever is chosen well-deserved recognition.

Still, these women are no less great if they do not make the cut. Their contribution is still important to American society.

Secretary of the the Treasury Jacob J. Lew has been posting updates on the redesign of the bill online, and younger people have created a large social media following. Follow the progress of the new ten-dollar bill at thenew10.treasury.gov.

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