Secretary of the Treasury (and all-around smarty pants badass) Janet Yellen is already making her mark at the US Mint. Madame Secretary is making changes to our change by releasing the first designs for the American Women Quarters program, which will honor 20 groundbreaking American ladies on US quarters minted between 2022 and 2025.
The first 2 women featured are astronaut Sally Ride and poet Maya Angelou. Both are incredible women who made a huge impact on American history. Secretary Yellen chose them after consulting with the Smithsonian Institution’s American Women’s History Initiative, the National Women’s History Museum and the Congressional Bipartisan Women’s Caucus. The remaining honorees have not been announced. In fact, they haven’t even been chosen. The US Mint — in conjunction with the National Women’s History Museum — is asking for the American public’s input for the remaining honorees. You can submit your nomination here.
Interestingly, US law says that no living person may appear on our currency (meaning Dolly Parton is out of the running on this one, even if she is a national treasure). Outside of that restriction, the Mint is looking to feature women from all walks of life: suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, sports, or art, to name a few. Diversity is strongly encouraged.
For some reason the likeness of George Washington must legally appear on the heads side of quarters, but giving space to honor women on the tails side is a great step forward in acknowledging that our country wasn’t entirely shaped by a bunch of white dudes. Let’s be honest: I know I’ve learned more about important ladies in history from Google doodles than I have from my education. It’s about damn time we recognize women’s contributions.