Victories for Equality: Women on Currency
(An artist’s rendering of a $20 bill featuring abolitionist Harriet Tubman, winner of the Women on 20s poll)
In honor of Women’s History Month, Key Elements Group will look at women and organizations that have helped advance the cause for greater equality.
This year, one women’s rights organization oversaw a big victory, getting women on one very public domain hitherto dominated almost exclusively by men: U.S. currency.
Women on 20s – a 501(c)3 nonprofit – has run a wildly popular grassroots campaign to encourage the U.S. Treasury Department to print an important female figure from U.S. history on the $20 bill. The group excelled in garnering press. From The Atlantic to NPR, news outlets picked up on Women on 20s’ unique and well-articulated mission, spurred in part by the wide-sweeping participation in online polling that the group inspired.
Founder Barbara Ortiz Howard sat down for an interview with Key Elements Group last year, in which she discussed her own inspiration for beginning and running a nonprofit dedicated to gender equality:
For me, having role models of great women in our daily lives is important to helping us all conquer stereotypes that limit our perspectives. Seeing women who exemplify the best of who we can be is at once uplifting and inspiring for everyone. Imagine if we were all inspired to be our best selves.
In June 2015, the Obama Administration announced that a woman will appear on the $10 bill in 2020. Scheduled for the hundredth anniversary of women’s right to vote, the actualization of the bill reflects Ortiz Horward and her colleagues’ hard work raising awareness of this glaring discrepancy in gender representation.
The last time that a women appeared on paper currency in the United States was in the late 1800s, when Martha Washington’s likeness was emblazoned on a silver-dollar certificate.
Key Elements Group will continue to provide snapshots of change makers and groundbreaking nonprofit work for gender equality throughout the month.