The Second Republican Presidential debate was well underway at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Ronald Reagan's retired Air Force One jumbo-jet served as a backdrop for the event, and it looked ready to take off when the question was posed: which woman should replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill? Candidates scrambled to answer the question properly, leading to an array of confused and disappointing responses.
Story by Zoya Zia
Illustrations by Hunter Tanem
Mike Huckabee said he would give his wife the honor for a couple of reasons, essentially because she married him and raised his children. In true patriarchal form, Huckabee finished, “I mean who else could possibly be on that money other than my wife, and that way, she can spend her own money.” Ouch.
Well Mike, there are plenty of influential women who deserve a spot on the $10 bill and possibly in Mitt Romney’s binders full of women.
Government freshman Guadalupe Reyna would pick Barbara Jordan, Frida Kahlo or Malala Yousafzai. “America is a melting pot of cultures so we should be open-minded,” Reyna says. “We should start representing America as willing to admire other cultures and the achievements of minorities.”
Undeclared freshman Patricia Molina agrees that Yousafzai deserves to be on American currency, even though she is not from the United States. “She would be a good fit for diversity and she is such a good example for young women,” Molina says. “We’re not educated enough about female leaders like Malala.”
Not only is there a lack of awareness of female leaders, but also a lack of female leaders in the first place.“There are not a whole lot of American female political leaders to begin with,” government professor Jeffrey Tulis says. “There are scientific and literary female leaders who could also contend for their place on currency.”
Tulis suggests Harriet Tubman or Eleanor Roosevelt as replacements to Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill. “The main issue is how the role of a figurehead on currency can and should be redefined,” Tulis says. In other words, do those featured on our currency have to be political figures? Women have had major influence in fields beyond politics. Scientists like Marie Curie and artists like Frida Kahlo were pioneers in their fields.
Still, some people think the debate over changing the $10 bill is pointless. GOP candidate Carly Fiorina, said she would not change the bill at all. “I don’t think it helps to change our history,” Fiorina says.
Government freshman Marina Hernandez also believes that the currency debate is not a big issue. “Currency would be nice if it didn’t have any face on it,” Hernandez says. “It would eliminate any problems with people becoming offended.”
However, Hernandez suggests First Lady Michelle Obama as a contender for a spot on the $10 bill. “Even though I’m not a democrat, I would pick Michelle Obama,” Hernandez says. “She is really trying to better the youth of our generation.”
Speech pathology sophomore Izzah Ahmed agrees that the face people see on currency does not make a huge impact on the status of women’s rights issues. “I can’t even remember what president is on what dollar bill,” Ahmed says. “There are other ways to honor women that would benefit women’s rights. Equal pay is an example.”
Replacing Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill could be a small step towards acknowledging the contributions women have made to American history. “People who are on the receiving end of the dollar can gain a sense of comfort and trust if they see a minority or women represented on money,” Reyna says. “Women just aren’t noticed as much as they should be.”
To Huckabee, Fiorina, Trump, Rubio, Cruz, Bush and other candidates at the last Republican Presidential Debate: you proved just that.