While it’s true that American women have “come a long way, baby” over the past century, there are still large and small ways that we as a society can proceed towards equality.
For example, women comprised 91% of all nurses as of 2011, according to the United States Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, yet male nurses continue to earn more than females in the profession. (Click here to learn more about the nursing gender pay gap.)
Speaking of money, a group called Women On 20s is working on a change that’s part symbolic and partially about equal representation: Getting a woman’s face on U.S. paper currency, specifically the 20 dollar bill. After an extensive selection and voting process, the organization will present one woman to the White House as the people’s choice for the new $20 bill. And how cool is the fact that four of the top 15 candidates were nurses!?
Women On 20s started with 100 important American women and worked it down to 15 primary round candidates, including pioneering nurse Clara Barton, author Betty Friedan, nurse and family planning pioneer Margaret Sanger, politician Shirley Chisholm, suffragist Alice Paul, and nurse and activist Sojourner Truth, among other awesome women.
The primary round resulted in more than 256,000 votes narrowing down to the final four:
- Eleanor Roosevelt
- Harriet Tubman
- Rosa Parks
- Wilma Mankiller
The final candidates page provides bios on each of these women with all kinds of great information about the many impacts they each made in America. One interesting tidbit: A lot of people don’t know that in addition to her many other talents Harriet Tubman served as a nurse during the Civil War. She continued on as a healer after the war and even helped found a home for the elderly.
Why the $20? Women On 20s has several reasons for this choice, including the fact that 2020 will mark the centennial celebration of the 19th Amendment’s passage, which gave women the right to vote. They argue on their website that while Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea have graced coins, it’s time for a woman on a bill. Additionally, Andrew Jackson has become popular as the one to replace due to his legacy of the “Indian Removal Act of 1830” which led to mass Native American relocation and the Trail of Tears, as well as the fact that he actually vigorously opposed the central banking system and favored gold and silver coin above paper currency.
You can vote for your Women On 20s choice here. Be sure to click around the website to learn more about the Women On 20s process and the original 100 women who were considered.
Which finalist are you backing? Be sure to share your opinion in the comments, and in the meantime, check out this great video where kids explore U.S. currency with poignant results.