This week the U.S.Treasury announced that a woman will appear on a $10 bill in 2020. This is not the first time women have featured on U.S. currency: Martha Washington appeared on the $1 Silver Certificate between 1891 and 1896, Susan B. Anthony was on silver dollars from 1979 to 1981 and Sacagawea (explorers Lewis and Clark’s Shoshone guide) appeared on dollar coins in 2000. And none of these currencies are still in production.
Chile, however, has had a woman on its currency since 1981. Gabriela Mistral, one of the country’s two Nobel Prize-winning poets, appears on the 5,000 peso note. She was the first Latin America to receive the prize, “for her lyric poetry, which, inspired by powerful emotions, has made her name a symbol of the idealistic aspiration of the entire Latin American world.”
Here’s one of her better-known poems
A child’s tiny feet,
Blue, blue with cold,
How can they see and not protect you?
Oh, my God!
Tiny wounded feet,
Bruised all over by pebbles,
Abused by snow and soil!
Man, being blind, ignores
that where you step, you leave
A blossom of bright light,
that where you have placed
your bleeding little soles
a redolent tuberose grows.
Since, however, you walk
through the streets so straight,
you are courageous, without fault.
Child’s tiny feet,
Two suffering little gems,
How can the people pass, unseeing.
And a link to the Gabriela Mistral Foundation, with an archive of her work: