(WASHINGTON, DC) – Yesterday, on Equal Pay Day, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced S. 925 the Women on the Twenty Act, legislation that would direct the Secretary of the Treasury to convene a panel of citizens to recommend a woman whose likeness would be featured on a new twenty dollar bill. The legislation complements a grassroots campaign, Women on 20s (or “W20”), which has garnered hundreds of thousands of online votes in support of the change.
“Our paper currency is an important part of our everyday lives and reflects our values, traditions and history as Americans,” Shaheen said. “It’s long overdue for that reflection to include the contributions of women. The incredible grassroots support for this idea shows that there’s strong support for a woman to be the new face of the twenty dollar bill.”
In an online ballot, the W20 campaign has generated hundreds of thousands of votes for a number of inspiring women candidates to be portrayed on the twenty dollar bill. The campaign hopes to make the change by 2020, which marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.
Although our paper currency has been redesigned several times to improve legibility and prevent counterfeiting, the portraits on the seven main bill denominations have not changed in nearly a century. Those portraits were chosen by a special Treasury-appointed panel of citizens in the late 1920s. The Shaheen legislation would allow for a new citizen panel to be appointed that would take into consideration the input of the American public to select a woman to honor in this way.