03/07/2015 2:12 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Poll: Which Indian Woman Should Be On The 100 Rupee Note?

SAM PANTHAKY via Getty Images
Indian craftswoman Jasuben Shilpi, known as the Bronze Woman of India, gives finishing touches to a life-size bronze statue of 'Jhansi-Ki-Rani or Queen Of Jhansi' - Rani Laxmi Bai - at her workshop near Adalaj, some 25 kms from Ahmedabad, on February 3, 2011. The 3.5 ton statue will be installed at Jamnagar this February 5. AFP PHOTO / Sam PANTHAKY (Photo credit should read SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images)

Why hasn't this happened already? Following in the footsteps of United States, Indians across the country are petitioning to put an Indian woman on their currency.

Last month, US decided to feature a woman on its $10 bill in 2020 -- the 100th anniversary of the Constitution's 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. A decision on who that woman will be is yet to be made.

These 10 countries already have women on their currency notes: Syria, Philippines, Turkey, Mexico, Argentina, New Zealand, Israel, Sweden, Australian and England.

While US currency carry images of several of its historical figures, Indian notes only feature Mahatma Gandhi. Last year, the RBI decided against including any other national leader's image on banknotes saying that no other personality could better represent the ethos of the country than Mahatma Gandhi.

This petition for an Indian woman's image on banknotes begs to differ.

"They have been contributors in every field, playing leading, formative roles in many walks of life. They have been equal participants, contributors, leaders and organisers of the struggle for Indian Independence at the grassroots," says the petition, which was started by Poonam Singh, last month.

The petition, addressed to the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister, and the Governor of the RBI, had received 356 signatures on Thursday afternoon. Its target is 500.

If we want to change things for Indian women, there may be no single magical solution. But perhaps to highlight the work of Indian women, past and present, in contributing to Indian society would be a beginning? We would like to hold their lives up as role models for our current and future generations to look up to.

And what better way to achieve this, than to put these faces on a common everyday object, like a currency note? As this also happens to be a token of economic power, it has a symbolic purpose too.

In a separate post, the petitioner also suggests possible candidates: Aruna Asaf Ali, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, Pandita Ramabai, Cornelia Sorabji, Bhikaji Cama and Savitribai Phule. You can vote for them here.

All of these names are great choices. But there are many, many other worthy candidates, including the queen of Jhansi, Sarojini Naidu, Mother Teresa and Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit.

Vote for the Indian woman you want to see on currency notes.

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