Here’s What the $10 Bill Should Look LikeJuly 06, 2015
The recent announcement that a woman will be featured on the $10 bill is a promising step for women, especially given women’s woeful underrepresentation in politics and leadership positions nationwide. The redesign will be unveiled in 2020 in celebration of the nation’s strides toward gender equality. Yet there’s one major milestone in gender equity that still evades today’s women — one that is all too relevant to our nation’s currency: equal pay.
When the U.S. Treasury Department called on Americans to submit their feedback for the redesign of the $10 bill, including what the bill should look like and who should be on it, we knew just what was needed. We figured we’d help Treasury Secretary Jack Lew reimagine the $10 bill by illustrating just how real the gender pay gap is.
That $10 bill? It’s worth less for women.
While strides have been made since the Equal Pay Act was signed into law in 1963, in 2014, women were still paid on average only 79 cents to every dollar paid to men. And things aren’t getting much better. Our research shows that the gender pay gap has barely budged in a decade. At the current rate, the gap won’t close for another 124 years, or until 2139.
The gender pay gap is worse for women of color.
African American women are paid 63 percent of what white men are paid. Hispanic and Latina women face the largest gap, at 54 percent of white men’s earnings. American Indian and Alaska Native women are paid 59 percent of what white men are paid. Asian American women’s salaries show the smallest gender pay gap, at 90 percent of white men’s earnings.
For women, there’s no escaping the pay gap.
The irony of the U.S. Treasury Department’s new initiative is that it’s meant to celebrate 100 years of American achievements toward gender equity. Yet the gender pay gap continues to penalize women from all walks of life. While some states are worse than others, women in every state and nearly every occupation — including the highest paying jobs — experience the pay gap. And while the pay gap affects young women right out of college — even those with the same major and in the same occupation — it also only increases as women age.
Putting a woman on the $10 bill is supposed to symbolize the gains our nation has made when it comes to gender equity. And while symbolism is important, we simply can’t let it stop there. AAUW is putting out the call for Americans to join the fight for fair pay.
AAUW’s biannual report is the definitive breakdown of the pay gap in the United States.
Change begins with you — and takes less than two minutes.
From former first ladies to suffragists, abolitionists, doctors, and authors, the diverse list of suggestions for the new $10 honor the many acts of women’s leadership that built U.S. history.