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The Treasury Department made history Wednesday with the announcement that a woman will grace the face of the new $10 bill. Just who that woman will be is up for public debate and will be announced by Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew later this year.
All we have to say is: It’s about damn time.
Over the last century, the precious few women who have been featured on American currency—including Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea—have been relegated to dollar coins, which have limited circulation due to the fact that, well, no one uses dollar coins. Placing a woman’s face on the unavoidable $10 bill, however, will celebrate a female leader in a more public way, which is a long time coming.
As Secretary Lew put it in a press release announcing the new bill: “America’s currency is a way for our nation to make a statement about who we are and what we stand for. Our paper bills—and the images of great American leaders and symbols they depict—have long been a way for us to honor our past and express our values.”
But if currency reflects the country’s values, the fact that women have been missing from American money for so much of the country’s history should serve as an indicator, however subtle, that for all the progress we’ve made, the United States still does not value male and female leaders equally.