2020 is the centennial anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, granting women the legal right to vote. And it's time our legal tender showcased the image of a woman.
An historical woman has not yet graced our commonly used paper currency. There is a grassroots movement to commemorate this 2020 anniversary by putting a woman on the $20 bill. And you can participate.
There have been a few women on less-used coins, notably suffragist Susan B. Anthony on the dollar coin. Fewer than 800 million were minted, though, because they were often mistaken for quarters. Congress thought they could fix that problem by changing the color of the coin, so they minted a gold-colored dollar coin with Sacagawea, the Lewis and Clark expedition Shoshone Indian guide, on it. But only about 3 million were made by 2012, and you are not likely to see either of these dollar coins except in vending machines. For comparison, there are over six billion twenty-dollar bills in circulation.
Helen Keller appears on the back of the Alabama quarter, and the mythological Lady Liberty has made a few appearances on our currency.
And, okay, if you want to be technical, in 1886 and 1891, Martha Washington did appear on the front of an oversized $1 Silver Certificate. (She also appeared with George on the reverse of the 1896 note.)
But that's basically it.
And we might ask, like the kids in the video below, "Where are the girls on the money?"
In America, women are underpaid, underrepresented in positions of power in the work force, and they are almost completely unrepresented on our money. It is known that iconic, archetypal images can direct the subconscious: could creating more balance in the images on our currency help create more balance in our economics?
Here's the lineup of the men on the money:
$1 George Washington (also on the quarter)
$2 Thomas Jefferson (also on the nickle)
$5 Abraham Lincoln (also on the penny)