The U.S Treasury announced Wednesday that a redesigned $10 bill will feature a woman who fought for democracy in the country, though President Hamilton’s face will still make an appearance somewhere on the bill.
The redesigned bill will feature several symbols that celebrate democracy, and is expected to be unveiled in 2020, the 100 year anniversary of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, who is, by law, given authority to decide on changes of U.S. currency, said that the identity of the woman will be announced by October.
“America’s currency is a way for our nation to make a statement about who we are and what we stand for," Lew told the Hill. "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."
The decision comes on the heels of a grassroots movement organized earlier this year to put the portrait of a woman on U.S. currency, though the target of the group at the time was the $20 bill. A petition circulated online by the group Women on 20s garnered 600,000 votes, and that electorate chose Harriet Tubman as their preferred candidate for the bill.
Less than two weeks ago, a group of Democratic lawmakers sent President Barack Obama a letter urging him to put a woman on a bill. Before that, Obama had expressed an openness to the idea in a speech when he referenced a letter he received from a 9-year-old girl that asked him to put a woman on a bill, questioning why there weren’t any on one already and suggesting options for the president to consider.
“This is a belated note to thank you for writing to me with such a good idea last summer,” he wrote in March. “The women you listed and drew make up such an impressive group, and I must say you’re pretty impressive too.”
Hamilton, a founding father and a former Treasury Secretary, is one of two portraits on American paper money that isn’t a former president. On the $100 bill is Benjamin Franklin, another founding father of considerable import, but not a former president.
The decision to put a woman on the $10 bill is part of a 2013 redesign choice for security reasons. There were an estimated $1.9 billion $10 bills in circulation as of the end of last year.