We Might Actually Put a Woman on the $20 Bill

There’s a saying that goes, “A woman’s place is in the house…and Senate.” Now, with a proposed Senate bill actually aimed at supporting a grassroots effort to put the face of a history-making woman on a $20 bill, that phrase could be amended to add, “and on the money.”

The measure, introduced by New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, is a response to the groundswell of support gained by the Women on 20s campaign over the last few weeks. In that short time, the campaign has seen more than 223,000 vote for the woman they’d like to see grace the bill. That survey also served as a petition, adding power to the aforementioned numbers.

There are a few reasons the time might be now to remove Andrew Jackson, whose face has been on the $20 bill since 1928, and replace it with an American heroine. For starters, Jackson's key role in the passage of the 1830 Indian Removal Act – which essentially stripped five Native American tribes of their land in the Southeast, sending them westward in a forced migration known as the Trail of Tears, a death march for many – makes him unpopular by today’s standards. What’s more, the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment – the one that allows women to vote – is around the corner in 2020. All the more reason to consider the $20 bill.

Shaheen’s bill, according to a press release the Senator sent yesterday, “would direct the Secretary of the Treasury to convene a panel of citizens to recommend a woman whose likeness would be featured on a new twenty dollar bill.” The Senator also stated: “Our paper currency is an important part of our everyday lives and reflects our values, traditions and history as Americans. It’s long overdue for that reflection to include the contributions of women. The incredible grassroots support for this idea shows that there’s strong support for a woman to be the new face of the twenty dollar bill.”

The candidates to appear on the bill began as a group of 15, but have now been whittled down to four finalists: Wilma Mankiller, Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt and Harriet Tubman. Organizers say that, whatever happens with Sen. Shaheen’s bill, they’ll continue to gather signatures for their petition. That way, Executive Director Ades Stone told the Washington Post, they can ensure that “the mandate is overwhelming." The president has previously expressed support for putting a woman on American dollars, as evidenced by the video below. Visit the Women on 20s campaign site to cast your vote.


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