(CBS News) It's been said that women don't care whose face is on paper money ... as long as they can get their hands on it. But if that ever was true, it isn't any more. Our contributor Faith Salie has some thoughts on the subject:
Recently, the Bank of England announced that Jane Austen, the 19th century author of sensibly romantic and hopelessly witty novels such as "Pride and Prejudice" and "Emma," will be the next face of the 10-pound bank note. A woman on a popular piece of paper currency? Such sense and sensibility on the part of the English!
Here in the colonies, a woman has appeared just once on a paper bill: it was Martha Washington, who got her mug on a dollar in 1886. Only three other women have ever hit the jackpot: Susan B. Anthony, Sacagawea, and Helen Keller. And all of them have been segregated to coins, which are smaller in stature, and, let's face it, jangly and annoying.
We Americans like to say our country is modern, meritocratic, inclusive ... so let's put our money where our mouth is. Isn't it time for some lady dollars?
Some folks expect Hillary Clinton to be the first woman president, which should surely earn her a bill -- a bill she's not married to, that is. But let's not wait until 2016. Here are some other candidates.
If we take a page from England and choose a writer, why not abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe, who penned "Uncle Tom's Cabin"? Or Edith Wharton, the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize?
There's the Belle of Amherst, poet Emily Dickinson, or Maya Angelou.
Women who've bucked the system deserve a buck: Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery to become a Union spy and conductor on the Underground Railroad. Or Victoria Woodhull, the first female presidential candidate; or Rosa Parks; or Gloria Steinem, a feminist who could rock a bunny suit.
When it comes to noteworthy American women, our cups runneth over. Which brings me to my favorite pick: Dolly Parton.
There is not a truer American story than hers: born dirt poor in Tennessee, she invented, enhanced, and bedazzled herself to become a national treasure, a brilliant musician, composer and mogul. And she is all woman.
A side note about notes: Senator John McCain recently co-sponsored the COINS Act, which proposes replacing the $1 bill with a coin. When asked what this would mean for exotic dancers' tips, McCain shouted that he hoped strippers would receive, "Fives, tens, one hundreds!"
So maybe this new dollar coin deserves the face of a woman, too. How about the greatest American ecdysiast of them all, Gypsy Rose Lee?