For the first time in more than 120 years, a woman is set to appear on US paper currency. The Treasury announced late last night that a portrait of a woman would appear on $10 bills to be introduced in 2020, on the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the vote. The actual person to appear on the bill has yet to be decided, with the Treasury inviting the public to use #TheNew10 hashtag to discuss the redesign and suggest prominent women for inclusion. Whoever is chosen will reportedly share space with current $10 bill incumbent Alexander Hamilton.
While the new $10 bill's introduction will mark the first time a woman has appeared on paper money since the basic design was laid down in 1928, it won't be the first time female faces have shown up on US currency. In 1886, Martha Washington's face graced the $1 silver certificate, and both Susan B. Anthony and Shoshone guide Sacagawea have been represented on silver and gold dollar coins, respectively.
The Women on 20 campaign has favored Harriet Tubman
The change comes two months after after Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced legislation to put a woman on the $20 bill. The legislation was joined by a social media campaign, organized by advocacy group Women on 20, which appeared to select abolitionist Harriet Tubman as its preferred choice for representation. Shaheen and campaigners from Women on 20 originally targeted the higher-denomination note for female representation because of current honoree Andrew Jackson's opposition to paper money, and his track record of favoring forceful legislation that subjugated Native Americans. President Obama also voiced his support for the idea of putting women on currency, reading a letter from a nine-year-old girl during an appearance in Kansas City last July that suggested a list of women to feature, and deeming it "a pretty good idea."
Although Jackson appears set to stay on the $20 bill, Susan Ades Stone, Women on 20's executive director, told The Washington Post that she was happy with the decision to replace the $10 bill and was "excited to hear our mission was accomplished." Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew said the timing was "a happy coincidence," with the government body usually redesigning paper currency every seven to 10 years to restrict forgeries.