An Open Letter to US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew On Why a Woman Needs to Be On the Front of the $10 Bill

An Open Letter to US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew On Why a Woman Needs to Be On the Front of the $10 Bill


Apr 20, 2016

In the great words of Alexander Hamilton, "A promise must never be broken."

Dear US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew,

As a country, it is about time we put our money where our mouth is in the fight to support women. Both sides of the political aisle in Washington, as well as all of the major branches of government, are committed to improving opportunities for women. Just last week, you yourself reiterated the Obama Administration’s position that "equal opportunity for girls and women is at the heart of inclusive growth." Moreover, in June of 2015, you upheld this stance with your announcement that a woman’s portrait would be on the US $10 bill by 2020, the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Unfortunately, the commitment the Treasury Department and you made is now in real jeopardy.

If recent press is correct, you intend to announce an alternate plan to redesign the $20 bill rather than immediately redesigning the $10 bill, a move that would require up to a decade of additional work before a woman takes her rightful place on the front of a US currency bill. This would undoubtedly be a major blow to the advancement of women. After all, the placement of a woman on the $10 bill is the most public sign that Washington and leaders like yourself support women. Furthermore, think of what kind of message you’d be sending our daughters by going through with the rumored interim step of putting a woman on the back of the $10 bill. Could there be a better metaphor for the second-class status that continues to limit our girls?

Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury and the current face of the $10 bill, personally drove the development of the US Mint, adding to his incredible list of institutional designs as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Two centuries later, Hamilton is still a star, as the success of the Broadway show based on his life story demonstrates. Secretary Lew, in 1792, your predecessor put Miss Liberty on the front of the first dollar coin and the $10 coin currency. Yes, Hamilton chose the image of a woman to represent liberty and freedom on our nation’s inaugural currency.

Empowering women has been an important priority of the President, the First Lady, the Secretary of State, the United Nations, and thousands of organizations throughout the United States. Leadership is about moments, and your commitment to placing a woman on the front of the $10 bill marks a crucial moment for our country. Secretary Lew, you owe it to the citizens of the United States to follow through on that commitment.


Luvvie Ajayi | Linda Alvarado | Nancy Armstrong | Ella Bell | Sofia Bernstein | Stacy Blake-Beard | Sophia Bush | Katie Couric | Geena Davis | Ellen DeGeneres | Anne Fulenwider | Gabrielle Giffords | Kathy Griffin | Christy Haubegger | Arianna Huffington | Roberta Kaplan | Jane Kamensky | Kim Kelleher | Allie Kline | Michelle Kydd Lee | Annie Leibovitz | Samantha Leibovitz | Cynthia Leive | Sarah Lewis | Susan Lyne | Jane Lynch | Marta Martinez | Dyllan McGee | Pat Mitchell | Cokie Roberts | Reshma Saujani | Gloria Steinem | Marlo Thomas | Gail Tifford | Diane von Furstenberg | Abby Wambach | Shelley Zalis

Tell United States Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew that you're #NotGoingBack:

NEXT: What Would You Look Like On the $10 Bill? »

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