She works hard for the money

Madeline Gallegos

Public relations portrait of Martha Coffin Wri...
Public relations portrait of Martha Coffin Wright as used in the History of Woman Suffrage by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Volume I, published in 1881. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ever since faces have donned American currency, they have always been male. Great men who helped build our nation are showcased on various bills, even those who were never president. Sure, there’s no arguing that all of these men had an impact upon history, however, it’s undeniable that there were and continue to be plenty of women who have shaped our country in tremendous ways. Unfortunately, no woman has yet to be immortalized on American currency, despite the countless number of historical heroines that exist.

However, one woman’s Valentine’s Day goal was to change that circumstance. Barbara Ortiz Howard launched a campaign yesterday aimed at honoring a woman on U.S. currency. The campaign, Women on 20s, shoots to get a female face on American paper currency by the year 2020, which will be the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote.


Even though some women have graced coin currency in the past as special edition dollar coins, Ortiz Howard wants a woman to be on widely circulated bills. Women on 20s is set to put forward fifteen women as potential candidates for their proposal and asks the public to help them select a single woman for their proposal by voting for one of fifteen faces being released over the next few weeks. Currently, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony are in the running.

After a historical figure is selected, Ortiz Howard and her team will make a proposal to President Obama, who can ask that the currency be changed or added. After the decision to distribute has been made, the bill will be designed and printed, making it ready for its potential 2020 debut date.

Ortiz Howard notes that she wants to remind her daughter and all young women that they will be valued for their efforts and recognized for their achievements equally among their male counterparts. Women, young girls and teens especially, should not have to worry that they will be thought of as second class citizens. By acknowledging the accomplishments of women as much as men, we can help eradicate the inequality between the sexes.

Getting a woman on the twenty dollar bill would be a monumental step for women, because it would serve as a reminder that women are valued in our society. For every great historical man, there is a great historical woman and they deserve to be recognized just as much. Even though historically speaking men are more highly esteemed and their narratives told more frequently in a heroic light, adding a woman to the boys club that exists even in paper money would be a step in the right direction towards creating equality.


Madeline Gallegos can be reached at and on her twitter page, @MaddieGallegos.