Jack Lew, U.S. Treasury Secretary, stated that a woman would be featured on the new $10 bill to be printed in 2020, the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment which granted suffrage to women. Although Lew announced a woman would be featured on the newly updated bill, he has not yet made a selection for the bill’s portrait. Some of the women taken for consideration by Lew are Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Eleanor Roosevelt.
Women have been featured on American currency four times in the past; Martha Washington, Pocahontas, Susan B. Anthony, and Sacagawea. Martha Washington was featured on the $1 Silver Certificate of 1886 and 1891, Pocahontas was featured on a $10 bank note in 1869 and a $20 demand note in 1865, Susan B. Anthony was minted on the dollar coin from 1979 to 1981 and again in 1999, and Sacagawea has been minted on the dollar coin since 2000.
Some people may argue that women have not been featured on American money as a insult to women. Although the number of women featured on bills seem small, four, it is important to keep in mind that the country has not yet had a female president. Most of the people featured on US currency were presidents. Out of the twelve US bills, only three portraits have been of non-presidents; Salmon P. Chase on the rare $10,000 bill, Benjamin Franklin on the $100 bill, and Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill. And on the country’s coins, four out of the six currently used coins have been presidents. The other two non-presidents are the dollar coins of Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea. Because women have yet to be elected president, it can be more understandable that there are less women featured on bills. This does not mean that women have been less important in the past. It merely shows that since presidents are looked upon as leaders of their country, they have been primarily selected as the ones to be featured on US currency.
1. Who are the four women that have been featured on US currency?
2. Has the US Treasury Secretary selected who will be on the new $10 bill? If so, who?
3. How many bills have been printed of non-presidents?
4. Who is the Secretary of Treasury for the US?
5. Do you think there should be more women printed on currency? Why or why not?
Jessica De Gree
Jessica teaches 5th grade English and History as well as 11th grade Spanish III at a Great Hearts Academy in Glendale, AZ. In addition to teaching, she coaches JV girls basketball and is a writing tutor for The Classical Historian Online Academy. Jessica recently played basketball professionally in Tarragona, Spain, where she taught English ESL and tutored Classical Historian writing students. In 2018, she received her Bachelor's degree in English and Spanish from Hillsdale College, MI.