Woman Figure To Replace Andrew Jackson On $20 Bills
On Tuesday, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) introduced a bill to place the face of a woman on the $20 bill.
He said in a press release, “If this is a country that truly believes in equality, it is time to put our money where our mouths are, literally, and express that sense of justice and fairness on the most widely used bill in circulation.”
This came after a similar bill was introduced by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, six days ago. Both of these bills came into effect after a nonprofit organization, Woman on 20s, mainstreamed the proposal of putting a woman’s face on the $20 bill via social media.
The campaign gathered storm, with more than 750,000 people visiting the website and voting on the design of the $20 bill. A poll of 15 women was drawn, of which four were shortlisted as finalists: Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, and Cherokee chief Wilma Mankiller.
The “Put a Woman on the Twenty Act,” formed in compliance of the two bills, directs the treasury secretary to form a panel of citizens to decide which historical female figure would substitute Andrew Jackson on the currency note. According to the Federal Reserve, $20 bills constitute 11% of the total American paper currency.
According to NBC News, Gutierrez said that placing a woman’s face on the bill will be “a powerful statement to my daughters and to young women across this country and to people across the globe who look to America as an example of inclusion and equal rights.”
The idea to replace Jackson – who himself opposed paper currency – was brought to the fore after President Obama said in a speech that he received a letter from a girl from Massachusetts who asked him why the American currency did not feature any women.
In reply, Obama wrote to her, “I’ll keep working to make sure you grow up in a country where women have the same opportunities as men, and I hope you’ll stay involved in issues that matter to you,” according to TIME.
Although women have appeared on American currency before, they have not captured significant public attention. Susan B. Anthony, women’s suffrage leader, featured on the $1 coin from 1979 to 1981; Sacagawea, an American Indian who acted as the interpreter in the Lewis and Clark expedition, found her place on the $1 gold coins since 2000; and Marsha Washington was on the $1 silver certificate.
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