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Congressman Luis Gutierrez

Representing the 4th District of Illinois


April 21, 2015
Press Release

“If this is a country that truly believes in equality, it is time to put our money where our mouths are, literally…on the most widely used bill in circulation.”


Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) introduced the “Put a Woman on the Twenty Act,” a bill calling for the image of a woman’s portrait to be displayed on the twenty dollar note.  As women fill more and more positions of leadership in United States and in U.S. economy, there remains one place they are not represented: on United States currency. This legislation will change that.

Not since the 19th century, when Martha Washington’s portrait was briefly featured on the $1 silver certificate, has there been a woman on U.S. paper currency.  And yet throughout our history, countless women have accepted the call to serve as the heads of cabinet departments, in the halls of Congress, as Presidents and CEOs of industry, and as activists and public leaders fighting for justice and rights and protections under the law.  Women make up over 50 percent of our population and at least 50 percent of our patriots, leaders, and role-models as a nation.

“Recognizing and celebrating the significant contributions of women throughout American history on U.S. paper currency makes a powerful statement to my daughters and to young women across this country and to people across the globe who look to America as an example of inclusion and equal rights,” said Rep. Gutiérrez.

“As the most used currency in international transactions, billions will see our values and freedoms in the course of daily financial transactions in every corner of the world.”

The Congressman was inspired by the great work of the grassroots campaign known as “Women on 20s” to champion the proposal. The campaign has brought attention to this issue and galvanized support from the public for a number of possible female candidates. Their leadership and continued efforts to expand the coalition of supporters will help ensure that this effort succeeds.

The idea has sparked robust debate over the many women who have made historic and lasting contributions to the United States and whose portraits merit consideration for placement on the twenty dollar bill.  Leaders like Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, and Wilma Mankiller have been among the women proposed and there are many others whose contributions merit consideration as well.  Even President Obama has commented publicly that it is a “pretty good idea” to place a woman on U.S. currency after receiving a letter from a fourth grade student who was concerned about the absence of women on currency notes. 

The “Put a Woman on the Twenty Act” directs the Secretary of the Treasury to convene a special commission to receive public input and recommend an appropriate woman to receive the high honor of having her portrait on the United States twenty dollar note.  The bill has not yet received an H.R. number.

“If this is a country that truly believes in equality, it is time to put our money where our mouths are, literally, and express that sense of justice and fairness on the most widely used bill in circulation,” said Rep. Gutiérrez.

“Throughout American history intelligent, courageous, and innovative women have struggled alongside men to fight for our rights, to expand opportunities, to build commerce. I am a beneficiary of the women who have fought for equality and for civil rights, as are my daughters and constituents. The ‘Put a Woman on the Twenty Act’ will honor not just the woman chosen, but also celebrate the contributions of all women to the strength of our economy and our nation.”

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