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Fitting the bill: Woman to finally grace U.S. paper currency

June 19, 2015

By Allison Videtti

It’s been a long time coming, but a woman’s portrait will finally appear on U.S. currency.

While we don’t yet know who that woman will be and the new bill won’t appear until 2020, there have been a few decisions made: The chosen woman will appear on the $10 bill and, per U.S. currency requirements, she must no longer be living.

Why wait until the year 2020? Fittingly, that year marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

Fun fact: One of the leaders of the early women’s suffrage movement, Susan B. Anthony, was honored with a place on silver dollars minted from 1979 to 1981, but this will be the first time since the late 1800s – when Martha Washington graced the $1 silver note – that a woman has appeared on U.S. paper currency.

Women who might appear on the $10 bill

How did this come about? Earlier this year, the organization Women on 20s launched a campaign on social media to put a woman on the $20 bill. The org’s suggestions included:

  • Rosa Parks, the civil rights icon
  • Harriet Tubman who, born a slave, fled to freedom and led hundreds of other slaves to freedom
  • Eleanor Roosevelt, who drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (and was first lady, married to Franklin D. Roosevelt)
  • Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation
  • Patsy Mink, the first woman of color elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the first Asian-American in Congress
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a key leader of the early women’s rights movement

While we’ll still see Andrew Jackson’s face on the $20, and still see Hamilton’s on the $10 -- he’ll appear either on the other side of the $10 bill or in a separate series of $10 bills -- this is still a historic move.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has asked for public input before he makes his selection sometime this year. Weigh in on Twitter using the hashtag #TheNew10 and let Lew (and Alliant!) know your thoughts.