Friday, September 18, 2015

Fifty Women Who Could Be on American Currency

There were a lot of embarrassing moments during Wednesday's Republican debates, and I'm not going to recount all of them here (you can find that anywhere on the internet), but I am incensed about a seemingly easy softball question that seems to have drawn some ire other places as well, and that's the fact that amongst eleven candidates for president, including governors, senators, neurosurgeons, and CEO's only five, (less than half) were able to come up with a woman that was eligible for American currency that should be on American currency.  Seriously-only five.  To illustrate how hard this is, all you have to do is come up with an American-born woman who is not living.  Literally-that's it.  And yet somehow who was actually name-checked in addition to five legit answers (the smallest of bravos to Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and in particular Ted Cruz who had a nuanced opinion here for actually being able to come up with an answer a 7-year-old could pull together) were candidates' mothers, daughters, wives, a British Prime Minister, an Indian nun, and nobody.  Yes, Carly Fiorina by virtue of her gender is the only person who wouldn't get crucified for not giving some answer, but nobody is easily the worst, particularly since while Fiorina is right that women aren't a special interest group, we also don't have to rewrite history to find a woman worthy of being on the $20 (yes, it should be the horribly racist Andrew Jackson who gets knocked off our currency).  In fact, I'll come up with 50 without breaking a sweat.  We'll start out with the four women listed by the candidates that were actually worthwhile:

1. Susan B. Anthony-Noted American suffragette
2. Rosa Parks-Civil Rights hero
3. Clara Barton-Founder of the American Red Cross
4. Abigail Adams-Pioneering First Lady and Women's Rights Activist
5. Eleanor Roosevelt-Pioneering First Lady and Women's Rights Activist
6. Harriet Tubman (who gets my personal vote, for the record)-Famed Abolitionist associated with the Underground Railroad
7. Helen Keller-Political activist on behalf of the disabled and women
8. Sacagawea-Led Lewis & Clark to the Pacific Ocean
9. Elizabeth Cady Stanton-Organized the first women's suffrage movement at Seneca Falls
10. Alice Paul-Noted Strategist for the implementation of the 19th Amendment
11. Sojourner Truth-Former slave turned abolitionist
12. Wilma Mankiller-First female chief of the Cherokee Nation
13. Shirley Chisholm-First African-American woman elected to Congress
14. Barbara Jordan-First Southern African-American woman elected to Congress, and first African-American woman to deliver a convention keynote address
15. Jeanette Rankin-First female member of Congress
16. Betty Friedan-Noted women's rights activist
17. Rachel Carson-Noted environmental activist and author of Silent Spring
18. Margaret Sanger-Birth control activist
19. Patsy Mink-First woman of color elected to Congress
20. Frances Perkins-First woman to serve in a presidential cabinet
21. Jane Addams-Noted women's suffragette, philanthropist, and founder of Hull House
22. Marian Anderson-First African-American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera, and the first woman to receive a Kennedy Center Honor
23. Elizabeth Blackwell-First woman to receive a medical degree in the United States
24. Willa Cather-Noted American author of O Pioneers! and My Antonia
25. Dorothea Dix-Noted activist for the mentally disabled
26. Amelia Earhart-Aviator who became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean
27. Lucretia Mott-American abolitionist and women's rights activist
28. Margaret Chase Smith-Senator and the first woman to have her name put forward as a candidate at a major party's convention...and it was the Republican convention for the six of you who couldn't come up with a name and were worried about how your answer was treated by partisans
29. Annie Oakley-Hero of the Wild West and famed exhibition shooter
30. Sally Ride-First American woman in space
31. Wilma Rudolph-Famed Track-and-field sprinter, and the first American woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympics for track
32. Maya Angelou-Famed poet and author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
33. Margaret Bourke-White-Arguably the greatest photographer of the 20th Century
34. Pearl S. Buck-First American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature
35. Barbara McClintock-Famed cytogenetecist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine
36. Dolley Madison-Famed First Lady who helped to furnish and construct the White House
37. Geraldine Ferraro-First woman to be on a presidential ticket
38. Lucy Stone-Famed abolitionist and women's rights activist
39. Lucille Ball-Noted female comedienne and pioneering studio executive
40. Lady Bird Johnson-Famed First Lady who worked to beautify and preserve our nation's highways
41. Dorothy Height-Noted Civil Rights leader who led the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years
42. Victoria Woodhull-Woman's suffragette and the first woman to run for president
43. Molly Pitcher-Revolutionary War heroine
44. Julia Ward Howe-Poet and author of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"
45. Nellie Bly-Writer and journalist who studied the conditions of mental institutions
46. Zora Neale Hurston-Noted anthropologist and author of the classic Their Eyes Were Watching God
47. Margaret Mead-Famed cultural anthropologist
48. Ella Baker-Famed Civil Rights leader
49. Martha Raye-Famed actress and longtime fixture on the USO tour
50. Margaret Brent-Frequently considered to be the Colonies' first prominent feminist

And those are just fifty-there are hundreds more.  So pickup a history book Republicans, and the next time you get this question name an American who isn't a close relative.

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