The $20 bill is getting more diverse, but is Congress?

Posted -

One week ago the news broke that Harriet Tubman would be the new face of the $20 bill. She will be replacing Andrew Jackson, whose face has been on the bill since 1929 when it replaced President Grover Cleveland.

image source

That was not the only announcement from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. On the back of the $10 bill, which houses Alexander Hamilton on the front, will depict some key figures of the Suffrage movement. It will include Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Paul. The $5 bill currently featuring President Lincoln on the front will have Martin Luther King, Jr, Marian Anderson, and Eleanor Roosevelt.

The decisions sparked some love and hate on various social media sights. When 1,500 people were asked if they approve of the change by SurveyMonkey, 56 percent believed that this was an improvement.

Political candidates and celebrities were quick to take to Twitter announcing their support of the changes, including Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and hit Broadway show “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has been in establishment since 1789 and was created to monitor the government’s money. While they are creating bills showing diversity, there is still a lack of diversity within the federal government; namely in the House and Senate.

According to the Membership of the 114th Congress profile, only 20 percent of congress members are female. This percentage is a 11 percent increase from the 112th Congress.

African American members of the congress are much fewer- by almost half. According to the profile, only 8.9 percent of congress members are African Americans. Hispanic/Latino members total at 7.0 percent while Asian/Pacific Islander members total at 2.6 percent.

The biggest thing that congress members have in common is religion; 98 percent reported having a religious affiliation, the majority being Christian. Only 2 members of congress are Muslim, and 57 percent are Protestant.

According to the 2014 U.S. Census, 50.2 percent of 20 million children in the Unites States under five years old were minorities. The United States has become a minority-majority nation.

So what does this mean?

While state departments are making decisions to reflect diversity upon paper money, elected officials are still majority white males.  The average age of of a U.S. Senator is 61 years old.

The change to the currency is definitely exciting. However, it still does not hide the fact that there is still progress to be made in the departments who are making these decisions.  

About The Author

Maggie Stansell is a campus correspondent for the Berry College branch of HerCampus. She is a junior at Berry College majoring in Communications with a focus in public relations. Maggie enjoys spending time with her dog, Finn, who is more like her child. She also enjoys watching so much “X-Files” that she now believes there is a good possibility of life elsewhere. Maggie would love nothing more in her life than to work as a concierge in a hotel, as long as it has the color scheme of a Wes Anderson film.