Right on the Money: Making Women on the $20 Bill a Reality

By Hannah Brown, NOW Government Relations Intern

Woman on the $20 Bill? – Mark your calendars, folks. In 2020, to note the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States, a woman (gasp!) could be featured on the ten dollar bill. Meanwhile, other advocacy groups strongly believe that honoring a historically-significant woman on the $20 bill is more appropriate.

A decision will be made very soon, and if you support a woman on the $20 bill, sign this petition. Close to 63,000 persons agree that a woman should be on the $20 bill and not the $10 bill!

Setting aside the fact that this is long (long, long, long) overdue, we are excited that a distinguished woman will finally be featured on a U.S. dollar bill. Several top contenders include Eleanor Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Wilma Mankiller (the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation).

Few Women Have Appeared – Women have scarcely appeared on U.S. currency in its nearly 240-year history. On average, a woman is featured on U.S. currency one every 80 years, with Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea having graced the one-dollar coin and Hellen Keller appearing on the obverse of the Alabama state quarter beginning in 2003. This will be the first time that a woman (other than Lady Liberty, of course) has appeared on U.S. paper money.

File:1999 SBA Obv P.png
Image Via: Commons
Image Via: Flickr
File:Alabama quarter, reverse side, 2003.jpg
Image Via: Commons








The initiative to put a woman on paper currency came from Rosie Rios, the 43rd treasurer of the United States.  Shortly after assuming the job in 2009, she decided that a woman should be featured on U.S. currency. Rios and other senior administration officials have avoided naming personal favorites.

Decision Made Soon – In June, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that a woman of historical significance will appear on the $10 bill. Secretary Lew indicated that the department has received more than a million responses as to whom should be featured. He indicates that a decision will be made shortly.

Jackson Should Go – The decision to put a woman on the ten is not without controversy. One organization pushing for a woman to be featured on paper money, WomenOn20s, intended to place a woman on the twenty dollar bill, not the ten. In their opinion, this would achieve two goals: first, memorializing a powerful, influential women in history on federal currency and removing Andrew Jackson, notable for his signature of the Indian Removal Act (essentially orchestrating the Trail of Tears, resulting in the displacement and death of thousands of Native Americans) and his disapproval of paper money and opposition to a central banking system (oh, the irony).

The ten dollar bill is due for a re-design for anti-counterfeiting purposes, according to The New York Times. This may have been the key factor in Treasury’s decision to focus on the ten dollar bill. In a July 4 editorial, the Times supported keeping Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill because he was the first Treasury secretary and creator of the foundation of the country’s financial system.

Sign the Petition – WomenOn20s has a new campaign to pressure the Department of the Treasury to put a woman in her rightful place, on the twenty dollar bill, instead of the ten (and to replace racist slaveholder Andrew Jackson, rather than Alexander Hamilton). Do you agree?  Sign their petition today, and be sure to share your ideas with the Treasury Department before they make their final decision.

3 responses to “Right on the Money: Making Women on the $20 Bill a Reality

  1. Very much appreciate NOW support. A core component of the Women On 20s campaign is to value women. #ValuingWomen means recognizing one another, holding each other high, claiming our own value and getting respectful responses from others, including POTUS and the Secretary of the Treasury. I thank NOW for recognizing our campaign and holding us high enough to publish us on their valuable website. Together, united we achieve our mutual goals. Many thanks and with gratitude, Barbara OH

  2. There are so many women that American should be proud of them for their impacts on US history and having more than one woman’s face on US paper currencies is the least to recognize the important role women have played in making America the greatest nation on earth. My favorite woman that must be on a paper currency is Eleanor Roosevelt since she served as the first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights, and oversaw the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But let’s have only faces of women on paper currencies for the rest of this century to make up for centuries of neglect of the important role that women have played for humanity. Are there enough real wise men in America to understand why this must happen?

  3. OKAY. I just saw this on snl and they honestly made a pretty good point (nothing offensive) they just stated that the 20 is the most circulated currency throughout people.. Its a harsh reality but people don’t like change and forcing something like this on people right now just is too much. It feels like all people talk about in this generation is women, women’s rights, women presidents, women’s salary’s, women self empowerment. You guys are right, women deserve on opportunity to explore all of there options but you don’t need to feel like now you have to be the “man of the house” Its almost putting to much pressure on women to make a change and find a better life, but really… Guys like that ability to go out and support the family. It feels like our responsibility Whenever my dad would come home with a check. It was cool, If my mom worked a little it was okay but I never really worried about it… She took care of me and it worked very well.. I just feel like a lot guys won’t be wanting to be in that possesion after the women start to feel like they NEED TO DO BETTER… AND SUPPORT. Back to my point. In the same sense that men don’t want to give up that role. Its hard to see that much change… especially on everyones favorite currency. I just think that everything is being rushed. The 20 isnt the right currency for this. PAY WOMEN EQUAL… bro this is sich a rant.. I’m kinda wrong but I mean for example some people just won’t vote for hilary clinton cause shes a women and I mean if they won’t trust probably the best most trusting canidate how they bout to like seeing a women on there money for 15 years. NOT even saying they shouldn’t be on money but the 20’s something you love.. when you get paid. they pay you in 20’s when you break a 100 its in 20’s.. it’s just too big.. too much.. too different.. the tens perfect cause guess what any odd number lets say 83 you have to give a 10 (perfect bill) giving credit when credit is due… and when you have to give credit. I just love pulling out a twenty everyone does, I think it should be something everyone supports.. right now thats not women.. I love the twenty its more of a pride thing.. I think the 10 is perfect for it though.

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