Opinions

Changing the face of the $20 bill

by KEITH OSHIMA

Change, whether it be for equality or virtue, is always something one should always strive for, and WomenOn20s’ campaign to change the face of the $20 bill from Andrew Jackson’s visage to that of a woman’s is no exception.

WomenOn20s is an organization founded with the sole focus of putting a woman’s face on paper currency to ensure that important women in U.S. history are recognized.

Originally, the idea began as a small project with informal surveys to friends, according to womenon20s.org. After putting much thought into what bill would be suitable for the change, Howard chose the $20 bill, as it would match the date of the 100th anniversary of a woman’s right to vote, which was enacted with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1919.

However, the date and lack of women in currency was not the only deciding factor when choosing the bill.  Much of the argument regarding the changing of the bill comes from its current, controversial face Andrew Jackson.

WomanOn20s argue that Jackson should have never even been on the face of the $20 bill, according to washingtonpost.com. The controversy stems from the fact that Jackson was responsible for the removal of the Cherokee nation, leading to the “Trail of Tears” and endorsed slavery, making him a terrible model for an American president. An ironic fact is that Jackson himself distrusted banks and paper money and spent much of his presidency fighting against them.

In WomenOn20s’ process of choosing candidates to replace Jackson, they began with 100 candidates and began holding voting rounds until they reached a final woman. In May 2015, Harriet Tubman was declared the winner. According to abcnews.com, Senator Jeanne Shaheen has already introduced a bill to put a woman on the face of the $20 bill. However, the only way the 20 dollar bill can be changed is if the current Secretary of the Treasury declares a change.

This change in coinage to represent women in history is not the first. One-dollar coins feature Sacagawea and Susan B. Anthony, both important figures in U.S. history. The coins were put into circulation within the last 50 years.

Sadly, both of these coins never received popular use, as people complained that both coins were suited more for the vending machine industry rather than the average consumer, and held no real significance. But even though these past attempts may have been failures, that does not mean the campaign should be given up. Money reflects the values, traditions and history of Americans with the faces it places on it and to exclude women from it is not right. They contribute just as much as men and it is only fair they also have a fair chance to be represented on currency.

With so much attention and support going to their campaign, WomenOn20s could start an age of women’s equality with the changing of the $20 bill being its first step.

“The name of the winner is not what this is about. What it’s about is showing that there’s wide support for a woman on our paper currency,” said Sen. Shaheen. “This is an important way to recognize women’s contributions just as we recognize men’s contributions.”

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