Refacing American money one woman at a time


Sydney Kinzy

Currently President Andrew Jackson is the face of the $20 bill.

How many times have you looked down to see the faces on your money? Have you ever realized that there is not a single woman there? The campaign Women on 20s is petitioning to Barack Obama to suggest that a woman should replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.

“Let’s make the names of female ‘disrupters’ —the ones who led the way and dared to think differently — as well-known as their male counterparts,” an advocate on the Women on 20s website said. “In the process, maybe it will get a little easier to see the way to full political, social and economic equality for women. And hopefully it won’t take another century to realize the motto inscribed on our money: E pluribus unum, or ‘Out of many, one.’”

Should there be a woman on the $20 bill?

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Women on 20s also selected 15 candidates to replace Andrew Jackson from Rosa Parks to Susan B. Anthony to Eleanor Roosevelt.

“The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote,” the Women on 20s advocate said. “So 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. That place is on our paper money. And that new portrait can become a symbol of greater changes to come.”

In a survey sent out to about 50 of West’s students, 66.7 percent said that it would be important to change it. Roughly 38 percent did not want to change the bill or did not care.

“I think it’s necessary to promote women’s achievements as well as men,” freshman Colleen Smith said. “Although men and women have accomplished great things, women are not equally recognized.”

Because of Andrew Jackson’s treatment towards Native Americans and his hatred of paper currency, Women on 20s had suggested him to be replaced. He drove Native Americans out of their homes down the “Trail of Tears” in order to make room for settlers. The price for this was heavy. According to PBS, roughly 4,000 Cherokee people died on the trek and 46,000 Native Americans were forced from their homes.

The poll showed that 45.8 percent of students believed it was a good decision to replace Andrew Jackson.

However, there is worry that it would be hard to adjust to the new dollar.

“I’m all for adding diversity, but I honestly don’t know how much it would cost to completely rework the $20 and print out thousands of new bills. I could see this causing some confusion with Americans who might not understand that both the Jackson and a new female bill would be the same thing if they’re both being used at once, as some Jackson bills are going to keep floating around no matter what you do,” freshman Hannah Hoffmann said. “But I’m still hoping for the best on the petition, because if there’s a good time for this change, it’s now.”

Junior Kathryn Harter believes that there is more to be done than just adding a woman on the $20 bill.

“Along with having a woman printed, there should also be a person of color. Feminism is all inclusive and to have a woman of color on the twenty dollar bill would be monumental for this country,” Harter said.

All in all, 33.3 percent of students agree putting a woman on money is important, with 29.2 percent believe it is very important.

“We need women on our money because it is an obvious, in-your-face form of representation,” junior Shannon Anderson said. “Young people are especially keen on finding role models whose footsteps they can see themselves following in. You can act like it doesn’t make a difference all you want, but if a little girl is taught to think from a young age that the only people who matter enough to go on a dollar bill are old white guys, she’ll live with the idea of a stigma for the rest of her life.”

If it were up to the student body, Rosa Parks, one of the 15 candidates for the new face of the twenty dollar bill, would win with 41.7 percent, followed by Eleanor Roosevelt with 20.8 percent and Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul who both had 12.5 percent.

To vote for a candidate on the Women on 20s website, click here.