A fe­male face — not yet cho­sen — will be added to the cur­rency in 2020, Trea­sury sec­re­tary says.

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS - By Tif­fany Hsu

The $10 bill is headed for a fem­i­nine face lift. One lucky lady — yet to be cho­sen — will be­come the first woman in more than a cen­tury to join an es­teemed co­terie of dead pres­i­dents and states­men fea­tured on Amer­i­can pa­per cur­rency, Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Ja­cob J. Lew said Thurs­day.

The new note will be is­sued in 2020 dur­ing the 100th an­niver­sary of the pas­sage of the 19th amend­ment, which gave women the right to vote.

But first, Lew will so­licit sug­ges­tions from the public, ask­ing Amer­i­cans to sub­mit pos­si­ble sym­bols and no­table fe­male fig­ures to in­clude via the web­site TheNew10.Trea­sury.gov or through so­cial media us­ing the hash­tag #TheNew10. His only re­quire­ments: that the woman re­flect the theme of democ­racy and that she no longer be liv­ing.

Sorry, Oprah. Two women have been fea­tured on pa­per cur­rency in the past. First Lady Martha Washington graced the $1 sil­ver cer­tifi­cate in the late 1800s, and Na­tive Amer­i­can Poc­a­hon­tas was on the $20 bill from 1865 to 1869.

Other women have landed on U.S. coins — women’s vot­ing rights ac­tivist Su­san B. An­thony on the dol­lar coin from 1979 to 1981, Na­tive Amer­i­can guide Saca­gawea on the same coin af­ter 1999 and dis­abled rights ad­vo­cate He­len Keller on the 2003 Alabama quar­ter.

Pres­i­dent Obama has sup­ported the pres­ence of more fe­male faces on U.S. cur­rency.

And a re­cent grass-roots cam­paign to re­place An­drew Jack­son on the $20 bill asked vot­ers to choose fe­male can­di­dates from a pool of 15 women, in­clud­ing Betty Friedan, So­journer Truth, Rachel Car­son and El­iz­a­beth Cady Stan­ton. Har­riet Tub­man, Eleanor Roo­sevelt and Rosa Parks each gleaned more than 100,000 votes. Cherokee Na­tion Chief Wilma Mankiller was also added to the fi­nal bal­lot.

Tub­man, fa­mous for her role shut­tling slaves to free­dom through the Un­der­ground Rail­road, emerged vic­to­ri­ous af­ter a fi­nal round of vot­ing.

Many other na­tions, in­clud­ing Syria, Tur­key and Mexico, have cur­rency fronted by women. But the $10 bill is in much heav­ier ro­ta­tion than most of those notes.

At the end of 2014, there were 1.9 bil­lion of the bills in cir­cu­la­tion, with 627.2 mil­lion more in line to be printed this fis­cal year, ac­cord­ing to the Fed­eral Re­serve. The av­er­age $10 note re­mains in use for roughly a decade.

The last time the bill changed cover mod­els was in 1928, when An­drew Jack­son was re­moved in fa­vor of Alexan­der Hamil­ton, the na­tion’s first Trea­sury sec­re­tary. Jack­son then was moved to the $20 bill.

Hamil­ton will re­main part of the note even af­ter the in­clu­sion of the fe­male fig­ure. The Trea­sury will ei­ther de­sign two sep­a­rate bills or have Hamil­ton and the woman share the same bill.

The new note, which was cho­sen for a re­design in 2013 pri­mar­ily to keep coun­ter­feit­ers stumped, will be unique in other ways as well. For one: The vis­ually im­paired will ben­e­fit from a tac­tile fea­ture and large, high-con­trast num­bers.

Some say chang­ing U.S. cur­rency is an in­creas­ingly mean­ing­less en­deavor, es­pe­cially given Amer­i­cans’ de­pen­dence on pay­ment cards and the shift to dig­i­tal mon­e­tary trans­ac­tions.

But in a na­tion where women con­tinue to earn less than men, in­tro­duc­ing gen­der to the green­back is a bold state­ment about the value of equal­ity.

“Amer­ica’s cur­rency is a way for our na­tion to make a state­ment about who we are and what we stand for,” Lew said. “Our pa­per bills — and the im­ages of great Amer­i­can lead­ers and sym­bols they de­pict — have long been a way for us to honor our past and ex­press our val­ues.”

Alexan­der Hamil­ton will re­tain his pres­ence on the note, Trea­sury off icials said.


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