Why Hamilton Would Want A Woman On The New $10 Bill
This week marks a historic time for America: women and men alike are joining together to raise their voices for equality and visibility.
On the heels of several announcements from U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, the placement of a woman who shaped history on the front of the new $10 note is in jeopardy. A promise to acknowledge equality has evolved into a heated debate about the importance and visibility of historical women and their legacy to inspire today’s and tomorrow’s generations.
From the Wall Street Journal to The New York Times, Time Magazine to Bloomberg, the press is responding to the passion of the people talking about this movement. We encourage you to raise your voice, sign the petition here and read more below about Hamilton, equality, and how the man on the $10 would be completely in support of a woman replacing him there.
“A promise must never be broken,” are the exact words of Alexander Hamilton. If America is to take this Founding Father’s legacy to heart, should we not observe his intentions and honor his moral code? U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew said of #TheNew10 last summer: “The new $10 will be the first bill in more than a century to feature the portrait of a woman.” Breaking this promise from the U.S. Treasury to the American people, especially the 150 million U.S. women, now would be a step backwards for gender equality as well as a raging controversy and PR disaster-in-the-making.
Women’s rights and women’s history have been behind their male equivalents for most of U.S. history. 1920 marked the passage of the 19th Amendment, granting women the right of women to vote, and 1963 the passage of the Equal Pay Act — two pieces of legislation that were decades, if not centuries, behind where we should have been as a country. The new $10 note will be released in 2020 on the 100 year anniversary of the 19th Amendment — a century after achieving this basic right of a citizen, a group of women are now relegated to the back of a bill and once again equality takes a huge step backwards.
The first Treasury Secretary, author of several Federalist Papers, and architect of the U.S. Mint, Alexander Hamilton was the first to actually print a woman’s likeness on our national currency. In 1794 and under Hamilton’s direction, the U.S. Mint printed the first $1 coin, a portrait of Lady Liberty dubbed the “Flowing Hair Dollar.” In 1795, she was printed again on the $10 gold piece. In the 221 years since, women have appeared only five times, each time as exclusive editions printed in limited runs on currency not commonly in circulation. As a father of two daughters and the first Founding Father to add a woman to our currency, it’s fitting of his legacy to replace his likeness with a woman’s on the $10.
The U.S. population is 50.4% female, and women hold 87% of the consumer purchasing power in the country. With this much money in the hands of this many women, where are they on the bills themselves? As 9 year-old Sofia from Massachusetts wrote to President Obama last year, catalyzing the government’s decision to add a woman to our currency, “why don’t women have coins or dollar bills with their faces on it?”
At this historic crossroads between equality and aversion, it’s up to the men and women that make up America today to stand up for the rights of women: the women who shaped this country in the past, the women who are an integral part of it in the present, and the girls that will make up its future.
Written with ❤ by the Girls at The Girls Lounge.