Women and Their Pesos

With March being Women’s History Month and while American quarters are released year after year revealing a wide range of American gals with varied accomplishments, I pondered if Mexican pesos may soon do the same?  If so, who should be featured?

Of course we’ve long had Sor Juana Inez on bills, the 1600’s feminist nun known for quipping “Pity the man who underestimates the intelligence of women.”  There are plenty of other Mexican nuns that could be featured for having started orders that still flourish, including those from San Miguel de Allende.

However, if we were going to add another faith-based gal I would choose a Mexican Virgin.

Namely, Guadalupe, the mother of Mexico and present in the revolution from Spain right from the start when Fr. Hidalgo grabbed her flag and proclaimed their freedom in nearby Atotonilco.  On many levels, Guadalupe is the embodiment of both Mexico and Mexican women.

The other Mexican Virgin of note is the Virgin of San Juan de los Lagos, hostess of the largest pilgrimage in the Western Hemisphere.  Twenty percent of our town’s population leaves in January to join millions of other pilgrims walking for days to visit the Virgin of San Juan de los Lagos.  That’s quite an exhaustive accomplishment!

In sports I’m partial to the first women to win the gold for Mexico, Soraya MendivilSoraya lifted an astounding 497 lbs. before passing at age 35.  At this point of my life, I’d be happy to lift 49.7 lbs!

The arts are a dicier field to choose from.

Naturally there is our most famous painter, Frida Kahlo.  However, her liberal personal life and topsy-turvy relationship with fellow painter, Diego Rivera, may undermine the drive to put her on currency.

Equally controversial are the actresses.  Maria Felix is the best known and best known for her vanity once considering herself prettier than Guadalupe.  That slip of the tongue has cost her many fans to this day over a half century later.

Sara Garcia long played popular grandmothers in Mexican Movies and on the Abuelita Chocolate brand.

Salma Hayek, Katy Jurado, Lupe Velez and Dolores Del Rio all had notable acting careers.  However, unlike Maria Felix who stayed here in Mexico, these gals all went to Hollywood for their greatest fame and fortune.

Another Mexican actress that largely stayed in Mexico was Silvia Pinal whose career stretched from the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema to the current age of Netflix’s House of Flowers.  Much beloved but the problem with Pinal is that she is still alive and that likely takes her out of the running for the moment.

Plenty of Mexican-American ladies have been lauded in entertainment, the sciences, business and education but to be on a peso one should probably be Mexican by birth and largely lived in Mexico which narrows the field.

Politics is an even harder field to select from as today and future generations’ view on politicians changes.  To place historical figures like La Malinche or La Güera Rodríguez, that helped bring Spain in and out of Mexico, would surely be controversial.  Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez, though, would be a safe and deserving revolutionary.

Perhaps one of the current presidential candidates will eventually be coinage for being the first female president.  I am tempted to flip a coin to choose which one though that seems a poor way to select a leader of any gender!

Perhaps best to play it safe and pick two of today’s most popular Mexican women to place on pesos – the Catrina and the Mexican Maria doll!

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