A GRASSROOTS ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION called “Women on 20s” began an effort 10 weeks ago to replace Andrew Jackson on the 20 dollar bill with a one of 15 inspiring American woman. The organization enabled the public to vote for the final nomination in an online election in which more than 600,000 votes were cast. At the conclusion of the voting Harriet Tubman won election. Women on 20s has since sent a petition of to the White House and is now lobbying President Obama to instruct “Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew to use his authority to make this change in time to have a new bill in circulation before the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in 2020,” according to the group’s website.
The group asks that individuals “consider joining our ‘Virtual March’ to the White House to bolster the petition… All you have to do is use the hashtag #DearMrPresident in your social media posts and you’ll be helping us amplify the call for historic change.”
The movement has gathered a substantial amount of support from those in Washington, including the White House. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) introduced S. 925 “The Women on the Twenty Act” on April 14, 2015 which would direct the Treasury Department to convene a panel of citizens to consider the issue of putting a woman’s face on America’s paper money and to make recommendations regarding the likeness of a woman to appear on the face. In July 2014 during a speech in Kansas City, Mo. President Obama may have tipped his hand saying, “Last week, a young girl wrote to ask me why aren’t there any women on our currency, and then she gave me like a long list of possible women to put on our dollar bills and quarters and stuff — which I thought was a pretty good idea.”
On May 13, 2015 White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said “that Tubman was a ‘wonderful choice’ for the bill, but stopped short of saying whether the President backs putting Tubman on the $20,” according to the Washington Post. Harriet Tubman, who lived from 1822-1913 was an African-American abolitionist and a conductor in the “Underground Railroad” during the Civil War.
In an emailed statement Susan Ades Stone, Executive Director of Women on 20s wrote, “Our paper bills are like pocket monuments to great figures in our history…Our work won’t be done until we’re holding a Harriet $20 bill in our hands in time for the centennial of women’s suffrage in 2020.”
Below are the other influential and iconic women who were considered by Women on 20s.
- Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross
- Margaret Sanger, who opened the first birth control clinic in the US.
- Rachel Carson, a marine biologist who wrote the hugely influential environmental book Silent Spring
- Rosa Parks, the iconic civil rights activist
- Barbara Jordan, a politician who was the first black woman in the south to be elected to the House of Representatives
- Betty Friedan, feminist author of the Feminine Mystique
- Frances Perkins, the Secretary of Labor under FDR, who was the first woman appointed to the U.S. Cabinet
- Susan B. Anthony, women’s suffrage movement leader
- Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to Congress
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton, early women’s rights activist and abolitionist
- Eleanor Roosevelt, human rights activist and former first Lady
- Sojourner Truth, African American women’s rights activist and abolitionist
- Patsy Mink, the first woman of color elected to the House, and the first Asian American elected to Congress
- Alice Paul, women’s suffrage movement leader