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I’m sorry, Alexander Hamilton: A feminist finance geek’s mixed emotions about putting a woman on the $10 bill

Maria Bernal de Navarrette cleans a statue of Alexander Hamilton, a Founding Father of the United States, in Rotunda on Capitol Hill in Washington October 15, 2013. Republicans in the House of Representatives failed to reach internal consensus on Tuesday on how to break an impasse on the federal budget that could soon result in an economically damaging default on the country's debt. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT) - RTX14COM
Reuters/Joshua Roberts
Harking back to simpler times.
  • Heather Landy
By Heather Landy

Executive editor of Quartz

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.



Wow—I am way more excited about this than I thought I would be. The $10 bill!

Wait, the $10 bill? I thought it was supposed to be the $20.

No matter. Money is money.

You know, I never seem to have tens on me. You go to the ATM and all you get are twenties.

Wait a minute —the $10 bill is Alexander Hamilton’s bill! I love that guy! He did more to establish America’s financial system than anyone: The Bank of New York; the first Bank of the United States; the first US Treasury secretary. How can Treasury be dumping its very own founding father?

Poor Hamilton. Killed in a duel, and now this.

There I go again. Why do women always put everyone else’s concerns first? We are so worried about taking care of others—our families, our colleagues, and, apparently, long-dead Treasury secretaries—that we can’t even enjoy our own triumphs.

Sorry, Hamilton. You had a good run. But progress has a cost. And right here is where you start paying.

No, wait, that was Fame.

Whatever. I do not feel good about ditching Hamilton like this. Progress for women shouldn’t have to come at the expense of a man as awesome as Hamilton.

Andrew Jackson, however…Nobody likes that guy. And he was against paper money in the first place!

Wait! Look at this! Treasury says Hamilton will ”remain part of the $10 note.” Thank goodness.

Of course they couldn’t just give a woman her own note, right? She can just share it. While we’re at it, why doesn’t the government just give women a 78-cent note and call it a dollar?

In fact, there is already a woman on the $1 coin. Sacagawea, remember? Probably not.

I had some of those coins 10 or 15 years ago; the Metrocard machines in the New York City subway would spit them out as change. Why do I never get those anymore? Oh, right. I never use cash in the subway now.

I never seem to use cash now anywhere, actually. Except at fruit stands. And for collections taken up by the PTA at my kid’s school. And for babysitters.

The last time we used a sitter, she asked us to pay her on Venmo.

Oh god, who’s doing pickup tomorrow?

You know, if someone could figure out how to make childcare significantly easier for working parents, that should be the person we put on the currency. Even if it’s a man.

There are going to be roundtables and social media campaigns to get input on who the featured woman should be.

Susan B. Anthony is a shoo-in, if you ask me.

But can we really claim the high road on diversity if everyone on our money is white?

Maybe they should pick Harriet Tubman. She was awesome. And feminists love her.

Why did feminists start making paper currency representation part of the cause, anyway?

Getting women on the Supreme Court? That was important. A woman president? That would be amazing. But currency?

Cash is dying. Cash is history.

Cash is history. And women deserve recognition for being a part of it. Just like Alexander Hamilton.

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