A Woman On The $10 Bill Is Great, But She'll Still Have To Share With A Man
In a somewhat bewildering move, the U.S. Treasury announced on Wednesday that it will put a woman's face on the $10 bill in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment in 2020, but the choice of bill surprised many. The Women on 20s campaign had long sought to have a woman replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. After all, Jackson was one of the fiercest opponents to the treasury and who was instrumental in displacing many Native Americans from their land in the 1800s. The most popular choice in the Women on 20s campaign was abolitionist, former slave and suffragist heroine Harriet Tubman.
So when Treasury Secretary Jack Lew made the $10 announcement, it took many people by surprise. But fear not Alexander Hamilton fans, because he's not disappearing from American currency completely. Whoever the woman is whose face graces the $10 bill will have to share. It's not clear what that means, whether multiple versions of the $10 will be printed, whether there will be a new version of the bill with Hamilton, or whether both faces will appear on one bill (ugh). Lew told Time magazine the Women On 20s campaign just happened to coincide with the timing of the redesign of the $10, which he said was in the works for a while.
While Hamilton is a much less objectionable figure than Jackson, this split decision doesn't make sense. It's like a half-measure, a concession that yes, we have to do something to get women on our money. Why not make the bold statement of replacing a racist like Jackson with a pioneer like Tubman?
Social media, take it away:
And in a weird detail, as Politico pointed out in its coverage, Hamilton was actually one of the country's first politicians to be involved in a sex scandal, when he shared (GET IT) his bed with more than one woman. Hamilton was with his wife and another woman who later (this detail is too good) extorted money from him... while he was secretary of the treasury a.k.a. the guy in charge of all the money.
While Wednesday's announcement is a good step in the right direction, having a woman "share" the $10 bill still sends the message that women aren't quite equal to men, that we can't possibly have a woman be the sole representative of one of our bills. The Treasury Department owes American women a better solution than this.