Maryam Mirzakhani made history this week. She became the first woman to win the Fields Medal, which has been called the “Nobel Prize of math."
This is especially timely, given the recent national discussion on the economy. President Barack Obama brought up the idea at a press conference in July that women should possibly be put on some dollar bills. And that's not an uncommon thought.
Overall, printed bills and their relevancy have been questioned. Kenneth Rogoff, a professor of economics at Harvard, discourages use of the $100 bill. He wrote in a research paper that the big bill can help criminals, especially because it is the highest in print, and the one most commonly used to transfer large funds.
So are we on the cusp of changes to dollar bills? After all, using cash costs Americans $200 billion a year because of the way people spend the money, research has shown. And Americans overall prefer plastic over print, according to another study.
Are women on the bills of the future? If so, who would make their way onto those fat stacks of green?
Here are 12 women we believe deserve a spot on the U.S. dollar:
Susan B. Anthony
Women’s rights got a big push with the help of Susan B. Anthony, who formed the New York State Woman’s Rights Committee and the Women’s New York State Temperance Society, with the help of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Both organizations fought for women’s rights to own property and vote.
Amelia Earhart is known for being the first person to fly across the Atlantic Ocean — and then disappear during her flight across the Pacific. It would only be respectful to put her onto one of America’s bills to commemorate her contributions.
Rosa Parks is one of the most influential civil rights activists. Her shining moment came when she declined to give up her seat in the front of the bus, causing uproar for some, but also inspiring others to help the civil rights movement progress.
Sacagawea is about as American as you can get. She helped Lewis and Clark on their expedition out West, which led to increased growth and development of the United States. The Shoshone interpreter is currently on a $1 coin, so putting her on one of the bills wouldn’t be too unfamiliar.
Mary Todd Lincoln
The emotional and outspoken Mary Todd Lincoln is a staple historical figure from the Civil War era as the first lady during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. Mary Todd was known for supporting the cause of the North during the Civil War, despite her family's affinity for the South.
It’s hard to top Abigail Adams in terms of her family lineage. Not only did she marry President John Adams, but she also gave birth to John Quincy Adams, who went on to become the sixth president of the United States. Impressive.
Legend holds that Betsy Ross created the first American flag. Though she didn’t do much else in the political sense, her legend and the folklore surrounding her creation is enough to warrant a spot on one of the bills.
Jackie Kennedy is all too familiar with tragedy. A pop culture sensation during her time as first lady, Kennedy watched her husband, President John F. Kennedy, get assassinated in 1963. Her ability to rise above and remain a figure in American culture is enough to earn her a spot on one of our bills.
Hillary Clinton was the first lady under her husband President Bill Clinton, and experts say she’s making a run of her own for the position. Regardless if she takes the presidency, though, Clinton has had a considerable impact in politics during her time in the White House and more recently when she was secretary of state.
Helen Keller’s impact on the United States is not only incredibly powerful, but inspirational too. Both blind and deaf, Keller helped teach people in similar situations and start the American Civil Liberties Union.
Eleanor Roosevelt13 comments on this story
Eleanor Roosevelt changed the way the first lady played her role in the White House. Her involvement in politics during her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s run as president set the precedent for the first lady to have a more active approach when it comes to participating in politics.
Don’t think Beyoncé has done enough to make it on the bill? Fair enough, but she has inspired a whole congregation to form in her name. And she’s worth $300 million on top of that. She may not be as historically prominent as some of these other women, but her impact on modern American culture cannot be matched.