Move Over, Andrew Jackson! Group Wants To Put A Woman On The $20 Bill

March 9, 2015  |  

Even though the female population in the U.S. is just over 50 percent, there has never been a woman on the country’s paper currency. There was the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin minted originally back in 1979 honoring the pioneering suffragist and the dollar coin with Native American guide Sacagawea in 2002, but no woman has ever graced paper money. That could change if Women on 20s, an organization created by Barbara Ortiz Howard that wants to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill by 2020, gets it’s way.

The year 2020 is the centennial anniversary of women’s right to vote in the U.S. Among the possible women to be placed on the $20 bill are Underground Railroad leader Harriet Tubman, women’s rights activist Betty Friedan, civil rights hero Rosa Parks, and politically progressive first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.  “This is a fairly simple change – it doesn’t require an act of Congress,” said Ortiz Howard, a mother of two who runs a construction company in Yonkers, New York. And she’s right. President Obama and the Secretary of the Treasury, Jack Lew, have the power to make this decision, reports New York Daily News. Ortiz Howard’s goal is for her movement to gather enough momentum to get their attention. “We’re hoping that they will hear America clamor for a change on the $20 bill,“ she said.

According to the Women on 20s founder, the time is now for a woman to be on paper money.  “I thought that was kind of an odd omission, considering that we are 50 percent of the population or more, and that we are vital to the economy and everything else in life. We have an opportunity for a rich history lesson every day as we use our money.”  And she feels Jackson in particular should be replaced, given his history as president. It was Jackson whose Indian Removal Act of 1830 caused the Cherokee nation’s Trail of Tears. Then there is the business about him owning slaves.

Though choosing the man to replace on paper money may have been a no-brainer, Howard says the choice of which woman to put on the $20 will be difficult. She initially had  a list of more than 100 candidates, and her  group worked with women historians and academics to narrow the number to 15. Now, Women on 20s want people to vote for their top three candidates here.  “I love them all,“ Howard said 0f Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Eleanor Roosevelt. “You can’t help but love these women and what they persevered to do for us on our behalf, as a people and a nation.”

Do you think Women on 20s will get their wish?

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