I am excited and looking forward to seeing Harriet Tubman on the face of the American $20 bill. That is a sign that times are definitely changing, even more so than electing our first Black President of the United States. Tubman risked her life to orchestrate the Underground Railroad that lead slaves to freedom. Standing strong and fearless, Tubman stood with her shot gun, threatening terrified slaves to cross over to freedom. She gave them a choice. They either run for their freedom or they must die. I would be curious to know who were the ones who chose death over living free from bondage, abuse, and oppression.
Women in the United States face greater levels of poverty than men do. In fact, women are much more likely to get public assistance, or take out a bad credit loan than men are. The fact that women will be appearing on money is an encouraging indicator.
Though many women throughout American history demonstrated strength and courage, deserving to be on our $20 bill, Tubman definitely was a pioneer who got it all started. Canada began a petition to display real women in Canadian history on their currency. The petition is working…slowly but surely.
I searched images to find Canadian currency that displayed a woman and I only found one. The Bank of Canada unveiled a new $50 bank note back in October of 2004 where Canadian women were featured on the note. The featured images of the Alberta women known as the Famous 5 along with the activist Thérèse Casgrain. I had to look up who these five women were. They had to be something amazing. The Famous 5 consisted of Nellie McClung, Emily Murphy, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney, and Henriette Muir Edwards. They were women from Alberta who gathered together to create a movement where women would finally be valued as a person. Unbelievable. I wonder what they would say if they met Caitlyn Jenner today. To think there was a time period when women were not considered human along with Black Americans.
Along with Tubman, I believe The Famous 5 definitely belong on Canada’s currency. The Famous 5 built alliances with other women’s organizations. They joined forces, refusing to take no for an answer where women could participate in public serve equal to men. They fought to vote in the early 1900s. They called their secret power meetings Pink Teas, so the men would no the suspicious. The women were unstoppable and victorious in their efforts. Emily Murphy’s famous quote,” I believe that never was a country better adapted to produce a great race of women than this Canada of ours, nor a race of women better adapted to make a great country.” Bank of Canada had some explaining to do in 2014 when they removed these five remarkable women from their currency.
Author Merna Foster started a petition to bring the faces of women back onto Canadian currency. The petition gathered over 50,000 names, but the petition fell on deaf ears. The Bank of Canada responded by stating it was too early to place women on their currency. Foster screamed discrimination. The Bank of Canada stated they are featuring those contributing to medicine as opposed to historical figures. Foster says she will continue her campaign until Canada values women’s historical contributions and place their faces back on the $50 bill.
In my research about these amazing women, I was truly inspired. Emily Murphy is famous for one quote that I have always lived by,” Whenever I don’t know whether to fight or not, I fight.” There is not a woman on the planet who cannot relate…even in 2015.