RIDGEFIELD, Conn. — Which woman should be on the new $10 bill? Middle school and high school-age Girl Scouts from Ridgefield and East Hartford met with U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal to tackle that topic, inspiring him to go a step further.
In June, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew announced the redesign of the $10 bill, and said the new $10 note would feature a distinguished woman in history. The Treasury Department launched a campaign to get feedback, which resulted in a flurry of discussion from the public.
Blumenthal met last week with the following Girl Scouts: Cecilie Johnsrud and Tristen Connelly of Ridgefield as well as Kayla Michaud, Angelina DeDominicis, Katie Lopez, Gaita Cisse and Melanie Valdes of East Hartford.
Recommendations for the $10 bill have included:
• Susan B. Anthony, famous woman suffragist;
• Harriet Tubman, African-American abolitionist, and
• Eleanor Roosevelt longest-serving First Lady of the United States and American politician, diplomat, and activist.
The new bill would be issued in 2020 –the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
“So far there have been over 1 million comments about this issue,” said Blumenthal, a Democrat. “I want to hear from young women who will be using this bill in the future. You ought to be a part of this conversation.”
Junior Gaita Cisse, and Ambassador Melanie Valdes told Blumenthal that they think Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts, should be on the $10 bill.
“Juliette Gordon Low has done some incredible things for women and girls, and did a lot in history — none of us would be here as Girl Scouts if she didn’t exist,” Melanie said.
“When she was in England she met the founder of Boy Scouts, and she thought, ‘If boys get to go hiking and do all of this great stuff, why can’t girls?’ She started everything for girls and women.”
Gaita detailed Low’s involvement in World War I, when Low and her sister, Mabel, assisted the Belgian Red Cross. Low traveled between England and the United States, potentially in danger, and kept Girl Scouts running while volunteering in the war, Gaita said, calling Low one of her heroes.
Other recommendations included Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to get a degree in medicine from a university, and Abigail Adams, the second first lady.
Girl Scout Cecilie Johnsrud told Blumenthal the importance of Adams.
“After some research, I learned that she was one of the main feminists in the early times,” Cecilie said. “She wanted women to be a part of the founding of this country, and she wanted women to have individualism and rights.”
Blumenthal plans to meet Monday in Hartford with leaders of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, Girl Scouts and women elected officials to call for a broad federal review of the role of women on currency.
Blumenthal will call for a woman to appear on a bill sooner than 2020, and for women to appear on more than just one bill.
“Women on our currency is long overdue — not merely on one bill like the $10 but on the $20 and others. Immense and enduring contributions made by women to our nation deserve this recognition — rightly and right now," Blumenthal said. "I hope girls and women will be convened to play a key role in this broader conversation, so they have a say in the choices. From Eleanor Roosevelt and Harriet Tubman to Abigail Adams and Rosa Parks, there are countless women who should be recognized on our currency, and we should not have to choose just one."
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