Updated: Nov 23, 2021
On Jan. 3, 2020, Congress instituted the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act to celebrate diverse figures throughout history. The American Women Quarters Program will be the first to debut, with up to five redesigns each year, starting in 2022 and going until 2025.
According to the United States Mint, the different women featured on the quarters “may come from a wide spectrum of fields including, but not limited to, suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, space, and the arts.” Honorees are also going to “come from ethnically, racially, and geographically diverse backgrounds.” Nominating a potential honoree is available to the public at this link here.
The first two women selected were Maya Angelou and Dr. Sally Ride, and their coins are set to be released in 2022. Angelou, former poet and American civil rights activist, was best known for her dedicated work in the civil rights movement and wide collection of essays, poems, and books. Dr. Ride was the first American woman to go to space on June 18, 1983. The agency also plans to honor Wilma Mankiller, Adelina Otero-Warren, and Anna May Wong in the first year of the program being instituted. All of these women broke boundaries to achieve their levels of success, and their accomplishments will continue to admire many young women in the future.
The decision for the implementation of this program comes after the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment being passed. The amendment which was passed in 1920, granted limited women the right to vote.. The goal for the redesign of the coin is to celebrate equal suffrage in the 21st century and add diversity to the existing currency.
Since the initial announcement in early 2020, the bill received much support across the country. Congresswoman Barbra Lee (D-CA) supports the bill, stating it “is an important step in recognizing the contributions women have made in furthering civil rights and making our country a more equitable place.” Representatives from both parties signed the bipartisan bill into law, temporarily uniting the political divides in the U.S. government to uphold influential women in our nation’s past. Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) says she is “happy that we were able to work together in a bipartisan, bicameral way to pass this legislation” and adds that “these coins will pay tribute to the women heroes and trailblazers who have played a major role in our nation’s history.”
Other coins will be released in the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act, which celebrates the US Semiquincentennial (250th) anniversary, youth sports, and Paralympic events. The Redesign Act will also call for the modification of all coins, both front and back, in circulation This bill allows for minority groups and disabled athletes to be represented and honored on American currency. The Paralympics will be represented on the half dollar in 2026 with just one design, highlighting one of the sports played at the games. To ensure proper representation, the Semiquincentennial quarters will feature at least one design highlighting females.
This project will allow for more diversity and inclusion in the future of United States currency.
Through Teen Lenses:
“To honor history is to spotlight each of its inseparable acting events and contributors. Unabridged understanding of our linear social progress neglects bias but embraces perspectives. This initiative does just that.”
Madelyn Hooker, Junior, Granville High School
“Putting influential women on quarters is important and needed. Other than the two women on the dollar coin, young girls pretty much only see old, white men on the US currency. This might not seem like a big deal, but I feel that the lack of representation and diversity subconsciously impacts them. From a young age, seeing powerful women on something as simple as spare change can be inspiring. If men can be on American currency for being president a few years, strong women who fought against discrimination and dedicated their lives to improving this country certainly should as well.”
Ella Young, Senior, Granville High School
“While many women have had an enormous influence on American society today, only men have been given credit. The American Women’s Quarter Program will change this; giving women the recognition they deserve. This act is sending society in the right direction.”
Sienna Robinson, Sophomore, Granville High School