Sofia, a 9-year-old girl, has single-handedly revived a campaign in support of putting women on a place of honor on the U.S. $20 bill.
During an activity in class when she and her classmates were to present on a historical figure, Sofia noticed something. Her classmates that presented male historical figures showed pictures of them on coins and bills. It was clear what an honor it was to be immortalized and remembered on such an important piece of a country's identity. But how come there were no women historical figures printed on any of the bills and coins?
“Why is that? Why are no girls on currency?” Sofia told BuzzFeed News. “Because women are just as important as men, and I think that it’s important for the women to get recognized in this way.”
And so, she did what every justice-seeking citizen would do. She wrote a letter to the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.
At first, it looked as if Sofia’s letter had fallen on deaf ears. She and her family have waited long and patiently but no reply came. Imagine her surprise when Obama mentioned her in a speech.
“A young girl wrote to ask me why aren’t there any women on our currency, and then she gave me like a long list of possible women to put on our dollar bills and quarters and stuff — which I thought was a pretty good idea,” he said while speaking on the economy in Kansas City, Missouri.
“I was so happy and I ran around the house,” Sofia said.
And then a little while later, a letter from the President arrived.
Now, the nonprofit organization Woman on 20s has spearheaded the discussion and launched a ballot to put a woman on the $20 bill, replacing former president Andrew Jackson. Sofia was also recently named official junior ambassador of the campaign.
Nearly 220,000 people have voted on the ballot, which include historical figures such as feminist writer Betty Friedan, civil rights activist Rosa Parks, environmentalist Rachel Carson and also a couple of women who were also suggested by Sofia in her letter, Harriet Tubman and Eleanor Roosevelt.
The campaign targets 2020 to be the year the U.S. currency features a woman to honor. And all this was because Sofia was brave enough to want a place for women on dollar bills.
Now for some national pride
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Since 1991, the Philippines has already had a woman on its banknote currencies. The first printing of the 1000-peso banknote had the portrait of women’s right advocate Josefa Llanes Escoda along with Jose Abad Santos and Vicente Lim.
Josefa Llanes Escoda, the Florence Nightingale of the Philippines, is an advocate of women’s right suffrage and founder of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines. She was devoted to serving the Filipino people from working at the Tuberculosis Commission of the Bureau of Health, being the secretary of the General Council of Women to volunteering in the Volunteer Social Aid Committee during World War II.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is also pictured on the lower left of the 200-peso bill, showing her being sworn into office at the EDSA Shrine.