Backlash erupts after reports of plan to delay putting woman on front of US cash
The campaign to see a woman's image represented on U.S. currency took a new twist when reports emerged that the Treasury Department may be changing its plans to replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 dollar bill.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew first announced plans to include a woman's portrait on the $10 bill in 2015. Hamilton's popularity, which surged in recent months following the success of the Broadway musical based on his life, may have thwarted those plans.
CNN reported over the weekend that an inside government source now claims Hamilton's face will stay where it is and a "female representing the struggle for racial equality" will replace former President Andrew Jackson on the face of the $20 bill.
Jackson had been suggested as a more appropriate figure to remove in favor of a woman last year. Critics, including those from the non-profit group Women On 20s, have pointed out that he owned slaves and was responsible for the genocide of thousands with the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which forced the Cherokee people to vacate their land, now known as the Trail of Tears.
See some of the women who have been suggested to be featured on currency:
According to the CNN report, the move to put a woman on the front of the $20 -- perhaps in addition to on the back of the $10 in some form -- could take 14 more years, since "the soonest that a new $20 note will be issued is 2030."
"We're not just talking about one bill. We're talking about the $5, the $10, and the $20," Lew told CNBC in a recent interview. "We're not just talking about one picture on one bill. We're talking about using the front and the back of the bill to tell an exciting set of stories."
The suggestion that a woman or depiction of women could appear on the back instead of on the front inspired a White House petition.
"We are committed to creating visibility for women and believe it's fundamental to achieving equality for all. Featuring a woman on the back of the bill does not represent equality for women today, nor does it honor the courageous women who have shaped our nation," it reads in part.
Several figures and groups have tweeted about the petition, including Arianna Huffington and Amy Poehler's Smart Girls, using the hashtag #NotGoingBack.