Wednesday, April 28, 2010

EVE: Here's a project I can completely support

Maybe I'm completely late on this (chances are, yes), but if I am I'm guessing others are too, so let's all catch up together! You know how sometimes you hear about something or learn about something and you're just like YES this is something that is so true and/or so needs to happen? That's how I felt when I first came across EVE's website.

EVE stand for Equal Visibility Everywhere. You can read the EVE factsheet (PDF) and the "who we are" for more details about the group, but basically they are working to "achieve gender parity in the symbols and icons of the United States. We're taking on statues, stamps, street names, currency, national holidays, and more." And it's just like ... yes please can we change some of this. Ya know? Can you even imagine a woman on a form of currency in this country that is actually used on a daily basis, and not just in a vending machine? Or for a complete OMG moment, think about a national holiday that involved a woman. And isn't it just shameful we don't have either? Check out these numbers, from EVE:
  • There isn’t a single national holiday named after a woman.
  • Not a single woman graces our paper currency.
  • Only nine of the 100 statues in National Statuary Hall are of women.
  • Less than 25% of the postage stamps issued by our government to commemorate individuals are of women.
  • The overwhelming majority of streets are named after men.
  • In New York City there are 150 statues of people: 145 are men and 5 are of women.
  • The overwhelming majority of schools are named after men.
 Read about this Gertrude Stein statue here.

And read up on what they have to say about the private sector. It ain't pretty, as they say. (The Time magazine fact is especially mind boggling.)

When you get a chance, I recommend exploring EVE's site. It's put together well and has great information. There are also polls you can vote in and ways to get involved. One of the current projects is the National Statutory Hall; Ohio is voting on a replacement statue for Gov. William Allen (whose pro-slavery views are apparently just now embarrassing), and three of the 10 possible replacement statues are women. The list:
  • Thomas Edison, inventor
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe, abolitionist and author
  • Jesse Owens, Olympic gold medal winner
  • Harriet Taylor Upton, women’s suffrage activist
  • James M. Ashley, Toledo congressman and abolitionist
  • Wright brothers, Dayton aviation pioneers
  • William McCulloch, Piqua congressman and civil rights supporter
  • Judith Resnik, Akron astronaut who died on the Challenger
  • Albert Sabin, developer of the oral polio vaccine
  • Ulysses S. Grant, 18th president and Civil War general
Being an Ohioan, I know how proud this state is of the Wright Brothers and Grant, and I have a hard time believing one of those two won't win on name recognition alone. (Edison is wildly famous, of course, but if I remember correctly he didn't really live in Ohio, he was just born here.) From this list, Upton would be my personal choice. Only Ohioans can cast a vote on what statue will go up, but a group like EVE can play a big role in pointing out why women should be considered for honors such as this one.

More reading:
  • Ms. Blog: "How About Sojourner Truth on the $5 Bill?"
  • Washington Post: "U.S. needs to face up to sexism on its paper money."

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