Saturday 22 October 2016

Women to finally buck the trend on US notes

Raf Sanchez

Published 19/06/2015 | 02:30

Humanitarian Eleanor Roosevelt is considered a leading contender to appear on the new design of the $10 note
Humanitarian Eleanor Roosevelt is considered a leading contender to appear on the new design of the $10 note

The US Treasury has announced that it is redesigning the $10 bill and that the new note will have a portrait of a female leader.

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No decision has been made on which woman will join Alexander Hamilton, the first treasury secretary, on the $10 note.

Jack Lew, the current treasury secretary, will make the final decision after consulting with the public. The new note is expected to be unveiled in 2020 to mark the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote.

"We have only made changes to the faces on our currency a few times since bills were first put into circulation, and I'm proud that the new 10 will be the first bill in more than a century to feature the portrait of a woman," Mr Lew said.

America's paper money is currently an all-male affair with former presidents and statesman featuring on all the bills from $1 to $100. There are also no women on the most common coins - pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters.

Susan B Anthony, a leader of the women's suffrage movement, and Sacagawea, a native American guide, both appear on $1 coins but they are largely collectors' items rather than everyday currency.

Martha Washington, the wife of George Washington, appeared briefly on the $1 bill in the late 1800s but was eventually struck off so her husband could feature on his own.

Mr Lew will hold town hall meetings to hear the public views on who should feature.

So who will make the cut? Here are some of the front runners:

Harriet Tubman: A former slave who helped around 300 other slaves escape from the South during the Civil War.

Eleanor Roosevelt: The wife of President Franklin D Roosevelt emerged from her husband's shadow to become a leading advocate for the poor and for women's rights.

Rosa Parks: Famously refused to obey a racist law that meant black people had to sit at the back of the bus and helped organised the bus boycotts that became an enduring symbol of the civil rights movement.

Wilma Mankiller: First female to be elected chief of a Native American tribe in modern times. Led the Cherokee Nation and its 300,000 citizens from 1985-1995.

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