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They want a women repping each of the 50 states.
There’s no shortage of historically important men on American currency, but with only Sacagawea featured on a bill or coin, there’s no denying we’re due for some girl power on our money. While Alexander Hamilton is set to get ousted from the $10 bill in favor of a lady-centric makeover, a petition is calling for 50 important women to be embossed on some shiny quarters.
In 1999, the U.S. Mint rolled out the 50 States Quarter Program, which saw each of the states in the union immortalized in silver. The goal of “#WomenOnQuarters: Create A New Set of Quarters Featuring Great American Women!” is to create a set in the same vein, but instead featuring 50 different important women.
The campaign was started by Kelly Irwin of Lansdale, Pennsylvania, who was inspired by her boyfriend’s 11-year-old daughter.
“I thought it might be fun for her to collect the coins and learn about all of these great women who can serve as role models for her and show her that she can be and do whatever she wants in life,” Irwin said in a release.
The petition has already garnered pretty major support, surpassing the initial goal of 10,000 signatures. It’s now looming near the new 14,000 goal, with supporters from all across the U.S. and all over the world.
“I feel strongly that women are still unfairly judged on many things, especially their appearance. One of the things I like about the quarter idea is that it will showcase women based on their accomplishments,” Irwin says.
She’s thrown out remarkable women such as Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Clara Barton, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Amelia Earhart, and Eleanor Roosevelt as potential coin muses. By law, a person on U.S. currency must be deceased.
“Because currency is something that most of us handle every day,” Irwin says, “it will be a constant reminder that women have a place in all aspects of society.”
According to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, a new $10 bill featuring a woman will debut in 2020. “We’re going to spend a lot of time this summer listening to people,” Lew said, which indicates a decision as to who will grace the bill could come this fall. Many believe it will be Harriet Tubman.
The Daily Show’s Jessica Williams had a more cynical take on the female currency debate. “What I do care about is getting an equal share of the bill,” she said. “I’d rather have 10 full Hamilton dollars than $8.45 of lady bucks.”
Illustration by Jason Reed
Marisa Kabas is a lifestyle reporter and activist. Her work has been published by Fusion, Fast Company, and Today. She’s also served as an editorial campaigns director for Purpose PBC, a social movement incubator.