gop candidates answering question

GOP presidential candidates struggle to name a woman to put on the $10 bill

During last night’s debate, the Republican presidential candidates were asked a question that should have been a gimme: Which woman would they put on the $10 bill? 

To answer this question, all you have to do is name an important deceased woman from the United States’s 239 year history. That’s all. Yet — in a sorta incredible feat — nearly half the candidates managed to get this question factually wrong. Some candidates suggested their daughter, mother, or wife; others offered up non-American women, like Mother Teresa or Margaret Thatcher. As Slate notes, all told, 45 percent of the women the Republican field chose were not historically important American women.

Of those who actually answered the question properly, Rosa Parks was the winner, securing the votes of Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump (second choice after his daughter). It’s a somewhat ironic choice given the present-day movement for racial justice — the successors to the civil rights movement that Parks was part of — has gotten no love from the Republican candidates. It’s doubly ironic considering that, as The Huffington Post points out, Parks was on the board of Planned Parenthood, the very organization the Congressional GOP, led by Ted Cruz himself, is currently hell-bent on defunding.

Honestly, I’m with Carly Fiorina — or, bettet yet, Jay Smooth: putting a woman on a bill is a pretty meaningless gesture. But I still think it’s meaningful that college-educated men who want to be the leader of this country clearly don’t know shit about any — literally any! — of the women who helped build it.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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