Harriet Tubman Is Coming to Our $20 Bill!


Hey everyone! Some very exciting girl power news this week: Harriet Tubman will be the new face of the $20 bill! She will be the first woman in over one hundred years to be on a bill! The only other time this happened was in the 1880’s, when Martha Washington’s face was printed on the one dollar bill. In addition to this, Tubman now also becomes the first African-American to be featured on U.S. currency, and it’s long overdo.

Tubman was an extraordinary woman and abolitionist, who worked behind enemy lines to usher slaves to safety during the American Civil War. It is entirely fitting, then, that such a brave, important woman should be represented on the face of U.S. currency.

Catherine Clinton, a professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, wrote a novel called Harriet Tubman: Road to Freedom. In a USA Today article, Clinton said that not many people, even very educated people, realize just how brave and intense Tubman’s actions were.  In that same article (you can find it on my resources page!), Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said the book played a big part in Tubman going to the $20 bill. So if you get a chance to read Clinton’s book, I definitely would!

Another victory for women on currency: The story of U.S. women’s suffrage will be told in a series of pictures on the back of the ten dollar bill. No word exactly when. It is part of a move to redesign all U.S. currency. And thanks to the popularity of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit play Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton’s face will remain on the front of the ten dollar bill.  Other U.S. currency modifications will be made in the future as well, such as creating designs on bills so they are more distinguishable to blind citizens.

I had never thought of currency illustrations as a means of equality, but Harriet Tubman’s pending feature on the face of the $20 bill is a step in the right direction!

National Equal Pay Day

This past Tuesday, April 12, was National Equal Pay Day. This is the day that marks how far into the new year a woman had to work to earn as much as a male counterpart in the previous year. Women all around the United States on Tuesday came together at events marking Equal Pay Day, calling for equality, and remembering how Susan B. Anthony began fighting for equal pay between the sexes in 1868.

The most recent statistic shows women make $0.79 for every one dollar that a man makes for the same amount of work at the same job. My question is WHY? Eileen Patten writes about a Pew Research Center survey that suggests women are interrupting their careers to care for their families, which can have an impact on earnings. The same survey notes that part of the pay gap may also be due to gender discrimination.

The good news is that we young women have the power to change this. Awareness is the first step. But do you know how this affects women, why it affects women and how we can achieve paycheck equality?

What will you do about the issue of unequal pay between men and women?

Here are some links to resources I found helpful in understanding the gender pay gap:

Pew Research Center survey: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/14/on-equal-pay-day-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-gender-pay-gap/

John Green explaining the details of the gender pay gap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=it0EYBBl5LI

The truth about some common thoughts on the gender pay gap: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/five-myths-about-the-gender-pay-gap/2014/07/25/9e5cff34-fcd5-11e3-8176-f2c941cf35f1_story.html

A guide to understanding the gender pay gap: http://www.aauw.org/files/2015/02/The-Simple-Truth_Spring-2015.pdf

Discussing paid work versus unpaid work: http://www.oecd.org/gender/data/balancingpaidworkunpaidworkandleisure.htm

Inspiration from the courtroom

My visit with Sarasota County Judge Judy Goldman.

Trailblazer: Webster defines this as a person who blazes a trail through wild country. Sarasota County Judge Judy Goldman embodies this definition. She spent time as a uniformed auxiliary police officer in the City of Tampa, made headlines as the first woman prosecutor hired by the State Attorney’s Office in the 12th Judicial Circuit of Florida, worked in three law firms for a decade, then sought and won a seat as a Sarasota County judge in 1989, which she’s held ever since. She is constantly giving back to the community as a prominent member of female legal organizations.

Recently I had the opportunity to observe Judge Goldman in court. I was struck with her kind, wise presence, and the way she guided both prosecution and defense to positive outcomes.

So I felt honored when I later had the chance to spend time with Judge Goldman. She invited me to sit next to her on the bench, where I could see every inch of navy carpet in the courtroom, and how that tall oak desk could command such respect. It was empowering to sit with her, the flags of Florida and the United States nobly standing behind us.

But with power, Judge Goldman told me, comes great responsibility. She explained how she cautiously wields her authority and legal expertise for the types of cases she hears, such as criminal misdemeanors (DUI, domestic battery, shoplifting, and prostitution cases), citizen or small claims disputes, and traffic violations with serious injury or death. “You can have your own opinions, thoughts and emotions about a case, but you can’t let those interfere with how you interpret the law,” she said.

How does she levy justice? “I do everything I can to get the person I sentence to a better place. I believe in a therapeutic component to punishment, whether it’s counseling or community service. You have to give something back to the community where you committed the crime,” she said.

To me, it was most inspiring to hear about Judge Goldman’s journey, which began when few women worked within Florida’s court system. There was some discrimination, but mostly behind the scenes. “Sure, it was harder as a woman. I remember when women couldn’t even get nominations from the Judicial Nominating Commission. But fast forward to the present, and only one out of our five County Judges is a man,” she told me. Time, Judge Goldman believes, has changed old-fashioned perceptions about women in law to today’s more modern stance. “We’ve come to a good place respect-wise. It is not so female-versus-male anymore.”

Judge Goldman pointed out that many prosecutors and defense attorneys are women now, and that women—even judges—have found ways to make it possible to have a family life, too. “I struggled to get my kid to school and then get to court early. Now we have judges who say they can’t start hearing cases until after they’ve taken their kids to school. How empowered these women are,” she said.

When I asked for advice about following in Judge Goldman’s footsteps, she said that being a judge is not for everyone, but it is rewarding. Best way to find out? “Come meet with us,” she said. “Spend some time to see if being a judge is a job that you would like. The position comes with difficult ethical balances and a somewhat isolating code of conduct, but it is never boring. I never stop learning in court, be it about human nature or the law or how they go hand-in-hand. I still find it fascinating.”

Thank you, Judge Goldman!


Study Tips!

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The season of AP Exams is coming up fast! I am currently taking AP World History, and I am well into my test preparation.

It can be quite daunting to think about all of the information and specific testing strategies that you must remember for the exam, so here are some study tips that have been helping me.

  1. Give yourself enough time to study. While already dealing with the stress of preparing, you want to make sure that you give yourself enough time to effectively go over everything and not feel totally overwhelmed.  Make a plan for how much you will study each day, so you can spread it out over the next few weeks.
  2. Highlight. Color coding sections in your notes or the review book makes it easier to go back and see the main ideas. It also is much more interesting and stimulating to your brain than a regular textbook page when there is lots of color.
  3. Take a break. Remember to build in you-time during study sessions. It is easy to fry the brain, not only making studying miserable, but also inhibiting you from retaining information. Take a five-minute yoga break, or go get a snack to stay energized.
  4. Make it fun. Studying does not have to be a chore. Go to the library with friends, make up lyrics to remember place names, or put on some Taylor Swift to help you get things done without draining yourself.
  5. Take practice tests. You probably know more than you think you do! Do not stress yourself out by overestimating, or underestimating, the difficulty and depth of the test questions. Find out what you are up against and then figure out a battle plan.

I hope these tips help you. Happy studying!