The story never ends. It is not unexpected that the plan to place the
image of a woman on United States paper currency has attracted more
than its fair share of domestic attention. The fact
that it has attracted international comment is a bit surprising.
By way of the Huffington Post, an Israeli social activist, Shir
Nosatzki, took notice of the American $10 note and assumed the role of
assessor of the worldwide situation vis-a-vis women on paper currency.
Her research of online databases discovered hundreds of bills used in
nearly 200 countries and found that, of 609 people depicted on paper
currency, only 51 of them, or 8 percent, are women.
Nosatzki is a journalist, editor, and social organizer who in 2011
was responsible for encouraging more than a million Israelis to take
to the streets of Tel Aviv in equality and social-economic justice
rallies, and who also monitors the representation of women on public
panels in Israel. After her currency discovery, she is calling for an
international end to the status quo, calling it “a reflection of the
discrimination against women throughout history.”
She says this is a “double glass ceiling,” meaning that even if a
woman in the past has been deserving, “visual segregation” occurs when
men choose their own cultural heroes and render the contribution of
women irrelevant. Her provocative solution: completely equal
representation; all new bills should depict women until 50 percent
representation is reached. Her ideal is the current Australian system
that has Queen Elizabeth on one of its $5 notes, with all other
Australian issues having a man on one side and a woman on the other.
And what of those countries who claim they cannot find qualified
women? That, she says, is “just their problem.”
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