In the California public school system during first grade, kids learn about U.S. currency. I was bummed to watch my daughters spend hours studying, sorting, organizing, and diagramming endless stacks of male profiles. I still have a four year old to go through the training. It sucks. While this is supposed to be a math lesson, it’s yet another space where children see that males are important while females go missing. Six year olds learn– often with no authority figure like a teacher even mentioning the sexism– that males are leaders and females are invisible.
How different would our world be if our children grew up in a world where they saw female faces on the bills and coins they used every day? Really, what would have to change?
Well guess what? The land of the free and the brave may be remarkably sexist, but the Bank of England made the crazy, brazen, radical step of putting a woman author on money. Do you think they were closer to being courageous because they have a queen already there?
This is the great Jane Austen. Please show this bill to your kids. It’s really important that they see it.
In the United States, there is no shortage of notable women, but bank notes haven’t been updated since 1929, nine years after women gained the right to vote.
All of the paper money in the United States features men — nine presidents, two former treasury secretaries and one Benjamin Franklin.
Don’t let your children go through this sexist history lesson without acknowledging the inequity. A world where females go missing shouldn’t seem normal or okay to kids.
Here are some tips I discovered when my children learned about U.S. currency in first grade that may be helpful to you.
Show your kids other currencies where females are featured on money. This can be fun. Some money is beautiful or cool to look at. It’s all fascinating. You can learn a lot about people and their countries. This new Jane Austen bill is great opportunity. Let your kids know that U.S. bank notes have not been changed since 1929, 10 years after women got the vote. Ask your children who they would put on money if they could honor someone. Help them design a bill. Play store with their currency.
I have no doubt that in good, old Capitalist USA, when women are featured on currency as much as men are, it will be a signpost, maybe more than any other, of gender equality in America.
Reel Girl rates U.S. currency ***SSS*** for major gender stereotyping