Push to put woman on $20 notes gains momentum
Throughout the spring, many news outlets have been reporting on a push to put females on our $20 Federal Reserve Note. This project is being led by Barbara Ortiz Howard, who founded the Women on 20s project.
After realizing that no women have ever appeared on American paper money, she decided to launch an effort to change that. Her plan is to get Americans to vote on a group of 15 female leaders, a list that includes people such as Harriet Tubman, Alice Paul, Eleanor Roosevelt, Barbara Jordan, Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, and other women who made significant accomplishments to the history of our nation. The list was chosen with the help of female historians.
Once the voting process has narrowed down the selection to one person, the group will forward that name to President Obama, who has already noted that he thought it would be a good idea to put a women on our paper money.
The plan is to have the new note issued in 2020, which will be the 100th anniversary of the year when women got the right to vote, and that is also the reason the $20 note was selected.
The group is using videos that feature young children commenting that there are no girls on our money to help increase support for this effort.
It is worth noting that few real women have appeared on circulating U.S. coinage, the exception being the two that were featured on dollar coins, Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea. However, neither of these coins was ever widely used in commerce as a result of the reluctance of many Americans to use dollar coins. The Anthony dollars had a short run, and the Sacagawea dollars are now only produced for collectors.
In addition, even our commemorative coinage has tended to feature few real women, with the one major exception being the First Spouse $10 gold coin series.
Unlike here in the U.S., women do appear on paper money in other countries. For example, in 2013 the United Kingdom launched an effort to put women other than the Queen on their paper money beginning with author Jane Austen.