Tag Archives: females

Currency affairs: Campaign underway to place female face on $20 by 2020

Who’s in your wallet?

Unless traveling with cash from another country, the portraits on your paper money are all males. 

But they are not all dead presidents — that’s Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill, Ben Franklin on the $100 and Salmon P. Chase on the $10,000 bill.

So that’s one argument that can be set aside in the debate over whether Harriet Tubman’s portrait should be on the $20 bill instead of Andrew Jackson’s mug.

A nationwide nonprofit grassroots group, Women On 20s, petitioned President Barack Obama to place a woman’s likeness on U.S. currency. The goal is to accomplish this by 2020, the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote.

Women On 20s conducted multiple rounds of online voting, from which Tubman emerged the winner on Mother’s Day.

Some 30 women were considered during the caucus phase of the selection process, which involved 100 historians, academics and museum curators as advisers.

Primary voting took place March 1–April 5, with voters selecting the top candidates from a field of 15: Alice Paul, Betty Friedan, Shirley Chisholm, Sojourner Truth, Rachel Carson, Rosa Parks, Barbara Jordan, Margaret Sanger, Patsy Mink, Clara Barton, Frances Perkins, Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Tubman.

Voters nominated three women to the final ballot: Roosevelt, Tubman and Parks.

And, because of strong public sentiment to have a choice of a Native American to replace Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Nation Chief Wilma Mankiller was added to the final ballot. Jackson, who has been on the $20 since 1928, fought for the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and renewed a policy of military action to drive the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee-Creek, Seminole and Cherokee nations from their homelands.

In the final vote, Tubman, the escaped slave, Union spy, abolitionist and conductor on the Underground Railroad, won the popular vote.

“Our paper bills are like pocket monuments to great figures in our history,” Women On 20s executive director Susan Ades Stone said in a statement. “Our work won’t be done until we’re holding a Harriet $20 bill in our hands in time for the centennial of women’s suffrage in 2020.”

The group submitted the petition to the White House on May 12 and urged the president to instruct Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew to change the $20 and have a new bill in circulation before the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire, has introduced the Women on the Twenty Act. Senate Bill 925 would direct the treasury secretary to convene a panel to recommend a woman whose likeness would be featured on a new $20 bill.

“Our paper currency is an important part of our everyday lives and reflects our values, traditions and history as Americans,” Shaheen said. “It’s long overdue for that reflection to include the contributions of women. The incredible grassroots support for this idea shows that there’s strong support for a woman to be the new face of the $20 bill.”

Did you know?

The Secretary of the Treasury may order new portraits and designs on currency. The federal Commission on Fine Arts reviews all the designs.

By U.S. Code, the people featured on paper currency have to be deceased for at least two years.

They also must be recognizable to the general public.

— L.N.

image_news_20_tubman

What is sexual intercourse? That’s for the Florida Supreme Court to decide

What does “sexual intercourse” mean in Florida?

The state’s Supreme Court justices are pondering the question in a case involving a 1986 law requiring HIV-positive people to reveal their infection before having “sexual intercourse.”

A defense lawyer told the court last week that Florida’s laws have always used the term to describe heterosexual sex and not any other sexual activity by either gender.

The case involves a man charged with a felony after failing to tell his male sex partner that he carries the human immunodeficiency virus. His public defender, Brian Ellison, is simply trying to get the charge dropped, but told The Associated Press outside court that the same defense could apply to HIV-positive heterosexuals who engage in anything other than traditional sex.

“In the history of Florida law the specific term, sexual intercourse has always been interpreted to mean reproductive sexual conduct,” Ellison said. “It’s not the way that I’d want to define it, maybe — maybe not the way you’d want to define it —  but that’s the way it’s always been in Florida law.”

Ellison didn’t try to persuade the justices that his client, Gary Debaun, did nothing wrong; instead, he argued that Debaun didn’t violate the law as written.

The record shows that Debaun’s partner asked him to take an HIV test, and that Debaun, who knew that he was living with HIV, gave the man fake test results showing he was free of the virus. A lower court threw out the charge, but it was reinstated on appeal.

A number of states legally require people with HIV to disclose the infection to sex partners, but Ellison told the justices that other states’ laws use term “sexual activity” or specifically spell out sexual acts, rather than use Florida’s narrow language.

“But would you agree that when that statute was enacted, it was the intent to make sure that anybody that was going to have any kind of sexual activity that could transmit AIDS advise their partner?” asked Justice Barbara Pariente.

That’s exactly the point Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Geldens made in arguing that the charge should stand. He noted that the Legislature passed other laws at the time aimed at curbing the spread of HIV, including education programs on how to prevent its spread through sexual activity.

“It’s clear that the statute was intended to address the harms that are at issue in this case,” Geldens said. “That’s exactly what the Legislature intended to prevent, and they used the language of sexual intercourse because they wanted to do that.”

But if Florida lawmakers wanted to spell out exactly what it means by sexual intercourse, it’s had nearly a century to do so, said Ellison. The term has been used in state laws since 1919, when Florida first required disclosures to prevent the spread of syphilis, gonorrhea and other venereal diseases, he said.

“It’s always been defined as between a man and a woman,” he told the justices. “In all of that time, the Legislature has never expressed any intent to give it a more expansive meaning than it has always had, both in this court and elsewhere in this entire criminal code.”

Pariente agreed that lawmakers have had ample opportunity to clarify the law.

“This could be solved easily by the Legislature,” she said.

Dunham, Kohan, Wiig, Kaling talk ‘women in Hollywood’

Lena Dunham dreams of the day when a man might say, “It’s impossible to get into Hollywood. It’s an old women’s network.”

The creative force behind HBO’s “Girls” shared the stage with “The Mindy Project” creator Mindy Kaling, “Bridesmaids” star and co-writer Kristen Wiig and “Orange Is the New Black” show-runner Jenji Kohan for a discussion on women in Hollywood this past weekend at the Sundance Film Festival.

The four women weighed in how they broke into the entertainment industry and the challenges they face as its minority gender.

All said they realized early on that if they wanted to tell the stories they cared most about, they’d have to take the reins and do it themselves. And they found TV a far friendlier environment for female voices than film.

“There’s just a lot more opportunity,” Kohan said. “It seems like film is really behind.”

Even with the success of “Weeds” and “Orange Is the New Black,” Kohan said the only scripts she’s been offered to write involve “weddings and moms.”

Dunham, too, said after earning acclaim for her first film, “Tiny Furniture,” she was given opportunities to pen such scripts as “Strawberry Shortcake.” She wasn’t interested, so she created “Girls.”

They hope their current successes help pave the way for other women with Hollywood dreams. All four rely on writing teams populated by mostly women, but they don’t count men out.

“You shouldn’t have to just limit yourself to one gender,” Kohan said. “You want to work with whoever is the best at what they’re doing.”

Hear (and watch) women roar on new fall TV shows

“The Good Wife,” “Homeland,” “Scandal,” “Nurse Jackie” and, well, “Girls” are just a few current shows that put women front and center.

And this fall, even more women are stepping up.

As if TV programmers were in a classroom cribbing off one another’s exams, a few common themes emerge. One prevalent theme: the fantasy world of comic books and sci-fi, courtesy of newcomers “The Flash” (CW), “Gotham” (Fox), “Constantine” (NBC) and “Forever” (ABC). Spies and anti-terrorism also remain big in our heebie-jeebie era, with “Scorpion” (CBS) as well as a couple of the shows below.

But strong females are the dominant trend – and dominate in prime time this fall.

– “MADAM SECRETARY” (CBS, Sept. 21). Elizabeth McCord is a loving wife and mother and a brilliant former CIA analyst who is abruptly drawn back into public life as U.S. secretary of state after the incumbent’s suspicious death. Tea Leoni plays a woman who has it all – including growing concerns that she, too, may be on the endangered list.

– “THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA” (NBC; Sept. 24). Detective Laura Diamond doesn’t flinch, whether it’s flouting regulations to nab a bad guy or cooking up a scheme to get her twin boys into a private school. She’s always in a frenzy, forever creating waves, and mostly getting what she wants through sheer force of will. She is played by Debra Messing.

– “HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER” (ABC; Sept. 25). She is a thunderous presence in the classroom as she teaches law students how to spring their clients, whatever it takes. And in her law practice, she is a Machiavellian figure leading a team of top-flight students to help her tackle tough cases. As Annalise Keating, series star Viola Davis is powerful and often disturbing, never to be overlooked nor underestimated.

– “BAD JUDGE” (NBC; Oct. 2). Kate Walsh plays a woman who, in the courtroom, makes Judge Judy look like a pushover, then, after-hours, makes Snooki look like a wallflower. This is a woman who doesn’t hesitate to announce from the bench her relief that her pregnancy test has come up negative. The only way she could create more of a stir is if she were appointed to the Supreme Court (maybe Season 2?).

– “CRISTELA” (ABC, Oct. 10). This sitcom’s young heroine is working multiple jobs to fund her dream of becoming a lawyer. And when she gets slammed by her family for taking so long in law school, or for drinking the last beer in the fridge, she can return their salvos with equivalent gusto.

– “JANE THE VIRGIN” (CW, Oct. 13). Jane Villanueva is a radiant and ambitious young woman whose future is abruptly complicated when she learns that, despite her decision to wait, her virgin status has been compromised through an accidental sperm insemination. Now she faces yet another, very unexpected challenge – pregnancy – necessitating hard choices that will affect not only her life but also many others’ around her.

– “STATE OF AFFAIRS” (NBC, Nov. 17). CIA analyst Charleston Tucker is joining such past and present CIA heroines as Elizabeth McCord (“Madam Secretary”) and “Homeland” stalwart Carrie Mathison, but with her own specialty: compiling and delivering to the Oval Office the president’s Daily Briefing every morning. But Charleston’s bond with the chief executive is even tighter than this, since she used to be engaged to the president’s son – that is, until he was killed by a terrorist attack. And wouldn’t you know it: the president is a woman, too!

Women who helped remake the American landscape

Occasionally, landscape gardening goes well beyond flowers and shrubbery to encompass questions of national identity, culture, even social change. The era from 1900 to 1930 in America was one of those times, thanks to several enterprising and unsung women.

Well before American women could vote, these college-educated few rose to the pinnacle of their fields as garden designers, writers and photographers. Declaring American gardens to be distinct from those in Europe, they took as their mission the beautification of America, whose cities were polluted and whose residents were suffering from decades of grinding income disparity and rampant industrialism.

The New York Botanical Garden — itself a creation of that Progressive “push-back” between the height of the Gilded Age and World War I — explores these women and their work in “Groundbreakers: Great American gardens in the 20th century and the women who designed them,” a suite of exhibits on view through Sept. 7.

“Groundbreakers” explores the work of garden designers Marian Coffin, Beatrix Farrand and Ellen Shipman, and garden photographers Jessie Tarbox Beals, Mattie Edwards Hewitt and Frances Benjamin Johnston.

It combines original hand-tinted glass “magic lantern” slides and the hefty photographic equipment used to make them; detailed drawings of some of the greatest estate gardens of the time; gardening journalism and literary writing; and breathtakingly colorful flower gardens — most notably one evoking the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller garden in Seal Harbor, Maine (complete with Ragtime musical accompaniment).

“These women were the leading lights in their fields. And in a broader cultural sense, the work they did helped elevate the quality of life for many people across America through these landscapes and their photos and writing,” said Todd Forrest, the botanical garden’s vice president of Horticulture and Living Collections.

“This brief Progressive era is especially important to look at now as historians ask themselves how, in our present gilded age, we’re going to get this kind of momentum again,” explained Sam Watters, the historian whose “Gardens for a Beautiful America” book (Acanthus Press) helped inspire the show, and who curated its photographic segment.

Among the nation’s first specialized career women, the women highlighted in the show not only designed gardens for private estates, but educated and informed the public through lectures, writing and photos, Watters said.

Their work helped inspire the construction of landscaped parks and gardens across the country; the expansion of tree-lined streets; and the widespread planting of the lush lawns, bordered by flowers and ornamental shrubs, that remain emblematic of American yards today.

“Garden club women, inspired by the garden photos they saw, started going to prisons. They put a rose garden in the courtyard of Sing Sing. A big formal garden with a fountain was put in a prison in Michigan. And they planted gardens around train stations across the country,” Watters said.

“It really was landscape gardening as social activism.”

On the great estates, the cutting edge of landscape design at the time, photographs were commissioned and schoolchildren brought in with the edification of the masses in mind. 

Whereas 19th century American gardens replicated gardens in Europe, these new gardens combined Asian architectural elements, English-style flower borders, European ideas of space and distinctly North American settings for a unique sensibility. And before there was color photography, the lush hand-tinted coloring of Johnston’s lantern slides awed and inspired home gardeners.

The show is ambitious and sprawling, and experiencing it in its entirety requires the better part of a day. Although the exhibits can be viewed in any order, the story flows best by beginning in the garden’s Mertz Library Rotunda with “Gardens for a Beautiful America: The women who photographed them,” curated by Watters. Along with photos, books, magazines and journals of the period, the exhibit features examples of the era’s imposing wooden camera equipment — gardening photography required serious biceps — along with a few original lantern slides.

Two of Farrand’s masterpieces are on view in the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden and in “Mrs. Rockefeller’s Garden,” a dazzlingly colorful indoor horticultural exhibit. Shipman designed the garden’s Ladies’ Border, and Coffin designed the Montgomery Conifers Collection.

The show also includes a “Poetry Walk,” featuring poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay, many inspired by her garden in Austerlitz, New York; a section on “Groundbreaking Women in Science”; a series of concerts, films, lectures and poetry readings; a free iPhone app with previously unpublished photos; and a section for kids on the science and art of landscape photography.