Will it be Susan B. Anthony or Harriet Tubman? Eleanor Roosevelt or Rosa Parks? Or another important woman from American history?
These will be among the names the nation ponders after the Obama administration’s announcement late Wednesday that a woman will be featured on the $10 bill, the first time in well over a century that a female portrait will grace the United States’ paper money.
The redesigned bill will be unveiled in 2020 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the right of women to vote. The Treasury Department is launching a massive public campaign to solicit suggestions through social media and town halls for what the bill should look like and who should be on it. The only requirements for candidacy are that the woman be deceased and embody the theme of the bill’s new look: “Democracy.”
“America’s currency makes a statement about who we are and what we stand for as a nation,” said Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who has the authority to make the decision.
The debate over who should be the face of the new $10 bill could become part of a wider conversation about the social and economic progress of women. Selecting just one person for such a symbolic role may involve trade-offs, forcing officials to decide which major milestone in American history to highlight.