SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Word that women have to wait to get on the $20 bill is not going over well.
Advocates who have been working to put a woman’s face on America’s paper money were fighting mad over reports that a female figure won’t grace the front of any U.S. bill for another fifteen years.
According to the group Women on 20s, Treasury Secretary Lew will announce this week that a woman won’t replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill until the year 2030. CBS News learned that Harriet Tubman was officially chosen to be the face for the bill on Wednesday.
What some see as a victory is actually a huge setback in this battle to add a female to the pantheon of males on U.S. money. And apparently, Alexander Hamilton got caught in the middle.
First, all bets were on a woman replacing Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. Women on 20s even held an ad hoc vote in which Harriet Tubman beat out Eleanor Roosevelt and Rosa Parks for the honor.
Then, the Treasury Department announced it would be Alexander Hamilton who would cede his place on the $10 bill to a woman in history. The new bill would be minted and ready to spend by 2020. The move was hailed as a victory for women’s advocates, and they were just waiting to hear which historic woman would bear the honor.
But now, according to Women on 20s, there’s been a reversal of fortune for Founding Father Hamilton. He will remain on the front of the $10 bill, but it will be redesigned with a woman on the back, in 2020. The former Secretary of the Treasury has experienced a revival of sorts, perhaps because of the Broadway musical, Hamilton. His fans are rejoicing over the news, but women’s advocates see it as a slap in the face.
They consider the delay of the $20 bill a huge setback and a “cameo role on the back of a minor bill” only adds insult to injury, according to Women in 20s organizers Susan Ades Stone and Barbara Ortiz Howard. In a letter to Secretary Jack Lew posted in Time Magazine’s op-ed section they wrote, “relegating women to the back of the bill is akin to sending them to the back of the bus.”
The group has launched a campaign to put the redesign of the $20 bill “on the front burner,” in 2020, the same year as the $10 bill. They’ve created a meme with the hashtag #NotWillingToWait and #TheNew20 to share across social media in hopes of persuading the powers that be.
“We still have a chance to influence President Obama and Treasury Secretary Lew to fast-track the change to the $20 so women can at last have a bill all their own,” they wrote. “Time to take the reins away from the men who are calling the shots in this influence game and give women a shot of their own.”
CBSSF.com writer, producer Jan Mabry is also executive producer and host of The Bronze Report. She lives in Northern California. Follow her on Twitter @janmabr.